It’ll be fun, I thought. It can’t be that hard, can it? After all when creative writing time came around in high school English class, way back when, I was pretty sure I could pull off an A, maybe even an A+. Same thing with college writing courses. Years later I thought becoming a real writer would be a snap.
Oh, how cocky I was. I had so much to learn about the writing world. When I took my first correspondence writing course, I was stunned to learn how much I had to learn about writing. You mean there’s more to it than having a beginning, middle, and an ending? Oh, and of course, good grammar. Seriously? There’s more to it than that?
Was I naïve? Just a wee bit. Two writing courses later, I felt ready to take on the writing world and get my work out there, but I soon learned several things no course could ever teach me.
- Once you realize you were meant to be a writer, there is no going back. You’re in it for life. Every snippet of intriguing conversation you hear, that strange character you saw in the grocery store, or that weird tale someone told you, is followed up by, “Hmm, how can I use this in a book?” In your wildest dreams, you cannot imagine not writing.
- Once you have that great idea in your head for a novel, it will always be there, like a CD stuck on repeat for the…rest…of…your…life. Even if that great idea doesn’t pan out and a newer, more improved idea pops in, that original plot idea will always be there in the back of your mind saying, “Use me, use me.” Get used to it. It’s part of your life now. If you are hearing voices, you are an official writer. No matter what anybody says, do not let them take you away. If they do, however, remember you can write them into your next book from the safe confines of your hospital room. Then they will be sorry they ever messed with you.
- Rejection is a fact of life. At first you may want to curl up in a ball in your bed crying out, “Why me? Why me?” But someday that sting of rejection will turn to tears of joy when you tell your family, “The agent/editor/publisher doesn’t want to take on my project, but they said my story was wonderful.” That is a moment of pure bliss and should be celebrated as such. Little did I know I would ever welcome rejection. That just seems so…wrong.
- My biggest dream as a writer has changed from being published to receiving a phone call from an agent informing me that publishers are in a bidding war for rights to my novel and that Hallmark wants to buy movie rights. Ah, how I look forward to that day when I find myself lying on the floor taking that call. (Then I wake up and reality hits.)
- No one ever told me how much joy I would receive from fan mail from little girls who read my books. All of the hard work and the waiting, waiting, and more waiting pays off when that first letter comes along. Knowing that something I wrote has touched a young person’s life is one of the best feelings ever. As a writer, it doesn’t get much better than that.