It’s National Author’s Day!
Ellie the Author tagged me in a challenge for this special day and since I’m a better writer than speaker, I thought I’d do a blog post instead of a video, to answer her questions. Here are my answers. Thanks, Ellie, for including me!
How did you get started writing?
Within a period of 10 months, in 2012-2013, I lost 4 people in my life. 4 people who passed away from completely unrelated events, 3 of which were sudden and unexpected.
It shook me, hard.
At the time, I was working a good, solid job managing a medical clinic, but even though I was appreciated and treated well, it was a job that I just sort of fell into through the course of my career in healthcare administration, and I had lost my interest it.
Because of these shocking losses, I began to think about how short life actually is, and how tomorrow is never guaranteed. We all know this in our logical minds, but sometimes, it takes a horrible loss or life event for it to truly sink in on a deep, cellular level.
I thought about all the things I told myself I’d like to do “someday”. One of those things was writing a book. I had recently recaptured my childhood love for reading and was reading a book every few days until there finally came a point where I said to myself, “I want to write a book of my own.” If I didn’t do it “now” I may never have had the chance. Because I could be gone tomorrow.
So, I sat down in front of a blank Word Doc and started typing. I didn’t have a plot outlined. I didn’t know where the story would go. I didn’t know anything about the characters yet. All I had was a scene in my mind.
Six months later, the first draft of The Fine Line was finished.
Writing this first book was not easy. I am not a prolific writer. It took time, effort, and determination. It was emotionally draining because I felt like I was living through what the characters were experiencing. And if you’ve read it, you know it was a roller coaster of emotion! At the same time, I learned what it means to be truly passionate about something because when I was deep in the writing zone, hours would pass like minutes.
Writing and publishing The Fine Line was intense, scary, and exhilarating. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life!
What got you to where you are at in your career?
I’d love to say I’m happy with where I’m at in my writing career. Hopefully someday, I’ll get there. But the reality is…I’m far from where I’d like to be!
I made mistakes when I published The Fine Line. I knew I wanted to self-publish, but I didn’t know how to market effectively. Looking back, I would’ve waited to publish until I had a few books already written because once I hit publish, I became immersed in trying to get this book in front of readers. I spent so much time and energy on marketing that I no longer had any time or energy for writing. And because I didn’t have any books to publish in the near future, The Fine Line lost momentum fast, and I became discouraged.
I didn’t expect the outpouring of love from the readers who did read this book, and at the same time, I didn’t expect the harsh, downright mean, criticism that came with it either. I also didn’t expect the shame or backhanded remarks in my personal life that came my way because of the genre (steamy romance) that I like to read and write.
Unfortunately, my mind fixated on the criticism and judgment more than the love, and I convinced myself that I suck at writing. This made it quite difficult to finish my next book because instead of focusing on the story, I focused on what readers would think of the story and whether or not I was writing a book that would not just be “respectable” but that would also sell, because, at the end of the day, I asked myself how could I possibly justify spending this level of time, money, and energy on something that had no ROI? Full disclosure…self-publishing, done right, has upfront costs, and at this point, almost seven years later, my ROI is still in the negative.
The bottom line is, I’ve been GTS, you guys! Goin’ through shit. For the last several years, to put it as vaguely as possible (because some things need to stay personal)…I’ve been struggling. In a whole slew of ways.
But this damn passion! I LOVE writing! I can’t get the stories in my head out of my mind and I really want to be able to write them! I know there are many supportive readers out there who are patiently waiting for my next book. (Thank you to each and every one of you!) And I know that if I just get over my insecurities…I can have a successful writing career.
I’m currently working on my writing confidence. Here’s to hoping this year’s NaNoWriMo will be the push I need to get back in the game.
Where do you want your career to go?
I’d love to be able to make a living from writing, but at this point, I need to set small goals for myself. Expecting my books to the source of my income gives me a feeling of overwhelm and ultimately paralyzes me. Eventually, I’d like to publish at least 3 books per year, but for now, my expectation has to be one that my mind perceives as attainable.
So, I’m challenging myself, this month, for NaNoWriMo, to write 500 words per day. I’m challenging myself to focus on the story I’m telling, not the opinions of readers (whether they be positive or negative). And, to make it happen, I’m challenging myself to LIMIT MY TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!! Lol. 😉
I’m going to be working hard to bring a new story to you. In the meantime, I could really use some cheerleaders! If you’re interested, there are so many things you can do! Here are some ideas:
*Subscribe to my newsletter for updates! (You’ll get a sample of The Fine Line when you do!)
*Join my readers’ group on Facebook, Kobishop Korner Cafe.
*If you’ve read my books and enjoyed them, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Your positive reviews can boost an author’s career!
*Words of wisdom, encouragement, or advice are always appreciated. Please feel free to leave a comment below.
Thank you all for your support while I try to get my sh*t together and get the words written! I love you all!