I was reading a post asking folks to explain when writing became a passion and how they learned the craft. No surprise... most people started creating works of literature the first time they picked up a pen.
Not me... I'm dyslexic. Every word I write is testament to my love of not writing, but learning.
Growing up, writing was torture. Mom was a spelling and grammar snob, and her implement of torture, a red magic marker. I was often up till 10pm writing and rewriting homework assignments until they were good enough to pass mom's inspection.
Nope, I'm not bitter at all.
Since writing was such a chore, I never wrote anything outside of homework assignments and term papers. I never even wrote a letter of thanks.
About twelve years ago, I got my first computer. Spell check opened up a whole new world for me. I always had stories in my head, but never considered writing them down. The first thing I EVER wrote for pleasure was the 107,264 word manuscript for Kate, Blue Jeans and a Single Shot. That's why it's a story near and dear to my heart.
Not because it's really the steamy story of my parents' unconventional romance in disguise.
Anyway, as soon as I finished with Blue Jeans and payback, I wrote Genni's Box, about the creator of the first self-aware artificial intelligence. Absolutely, no connection to my nerdy husband.
I started querying agents in the summer 2001. I got a few rejections, but only one made me ill. It came about month after 9/11. In August 01', I queried an agent with an office around ground zero. I got my query back with a big red stamp across it "DECEASED". I guess I had a little post-traumatic stress from the one-two punch. I put both manuscripts away and went on to other things.
I began writing true life inspirational stories. The first one sold to Chicken Soup for $200. I was hooked.
I decided to join Helium.com., a great learning tool. I took advantage of everything they offered to improve my nonfiction writing skills. I ended up becoming Helium's Channel Steward for the Arts and Humanities Channel which was an opportunity to learn all about SEO titles and writing for an internet audience.
I earned a reputation for being a patient writing mentor and editor, and started doing some freelance editing and writing. My first gigs were copy for friends' websites. After awhile, I started picking up bigger gigs, building my clip file which earns bigger and better gigs.
Then because I have a need to know how things work I became very interested in the agent and publishing game. I did tons of research and interviews, and closely followed writers' careers. I even contacted the Master (in my eyes) Jeff Herman and did a live Q&A with him online. I wanted to know what gave a new writer an edge over the competition.
The experience and research inspired, Walk With Me: An Educational Journey To Getting Published. Of course, since I only have the key, but have not yet opened the door, I never actually considered publishing it until I got my fiction works published.
So I dusted off Blue Jeans and Genni and started updating them in January. I posted a couple chapters on Harper Collins Authonomy site in April to get feedback. What I got was a real education in the craft. Did I mention I loved learning?
I've been editing, creating companion websites for the books, and blogging since. I have yet to query.
Btw... Mom is in love with Blue Jeans. He must seem familiar.
That's my story. What's yours?