Are you sure you really want to be a writer?
That question is repeated in my head whenever someone tells me they want to write a book or they are thinking about writing one. This is generally followed by the next question that runs through my brain… should I ask that question out loud or just smile and nod and say a prayer for them?
Seems all want to write a book… someday. But few will actually sit down and do it. Why? It takes a lot of time… and it will end up consuming your life. This is especially true if you want to make a career out of it. It is also a lonely quest… no one else can put your story on paper, except you.
What made me want to write a book? Let’s begin on that fateful day, some thirty years ago. My mother had just passed away and my husband and I were cleaning out closets in her home getting it ready to go on the market. I opened the closet in her spare bedroom and jumped back, calling out for my husband. It was stuffed floor to ceiling with bulging black garbage bags. Did mom have some dead bodies in the house I didn’t know about? Both Kenneth and I were hesitant to pull the bags out but once we did, it was quite a surprise. There were three bags and they were literally stuffed to the brim with romance paperbacks! I knew my mom liked to read them but never paid much attention.
Kenneth bundled the first one up and I asked what he was doing. “Taking these to the dumpster in the alley.” NO! I would not allow that. And so, those 280 books came home with me… much to his sorrow. I pulled out a few and would read in my spare time. And I became hooked. I especially loved Janet Dailey’s books… Fiesta San Antonio, No Quarter Asked, etc. I finished them all. And each time I did, I would say to myself… “I can write one of these.” I certainly had no shortage of stories and characters in my head over the years but had dismissed them. Then, I decided one day that I was going to sit down and write such a story. I did… on my Underwood typewriter with the requisite carbon papers getting blue gunk over everything on my desk. And then there was the bottles of white stuff to correct with. Can you believe what we went through not too long ago in order to produce a manuscript?
Anyway, I wrote my epic romance. I followed the Harlequin guidelines to the nth degree, put the pages in a box and off it went. I knew that any day I would find a letter in the mail box with a lovely fat check. What a silly novice. Four weeks later…imagine that… only four weeks to read a manuscript and buy it… a letter from Harlequin appeared in my mail. I was ecstatic… jumping up and down, ripping it open. No check. Just a letter… thanking me kindly for submitting but not what they were looking for at that time. I was CRUSHED. Devastated. I took the manuscript… which they had returned… and it and letter went into a box under the bed in the guestroom. I never saw it again. I later found out my husband had tossed it into a garbage can when we moved from that city.
Fast forward to five years ago and I am lunching with a friend who asks me to say the first thing that comes to mind to her question…”if you could do whatever you wanted to do now or be someplace else, what would you choose?” In a heartbeat, I said, “I’d be in a cabin in the mountains writing my books.” She looked at me and simply said, “Then, do it...write.”
Long story short… I took that challenge and sat down the next day and within five days, my book was done. And that book, Beware The Ranger, has a series behind it and is being published by Tule Publishing next month on June 27th. So, when someone tells me they should write a book… I look at them and smile and say…”then do it.”
Note: Look for my next installments in my adventures in writing and publishing in the weeks to come!