The most important thing you need to know about me is that I'm the oldest of four. Everything else feeds from there - including my uninhibited need to be the center of attention and my drive to be the first in everything. I was after all until those other three showed up.
As for writing...It's kinda funny. I grew up thinking my sister would be the writer in the family. She had a short story published in our local newspaper at the age of seven. She says she plagiarized the idea - not the story just the idea. I say *cough, mumble, grumble* Writing the words down is what made it hers, the idea alone wasn't enough to get it published. Besides, my cousin, who she stole the idea from, lived in another state at the time. He wasn't likely to be trying to publish the story in our local paper.
So while I enjoyed reading - thanks to a $10 bribe from my parents the summer before fourth grade - I never really thought I could or would write.
Actually, I turned my sights to other arts - dancing (although I didn't have the body or talent to pull it off as a career), acting (while achieving moderate success in the local theatre and receiving a scholarship to community college still not enough talent for a career that could support me), I even considered painting for a brief five seconds.
But writing was always there in the back of my head. As a sophomore in high school I was given an interesting assignment in English class. We were divided up into groups and told to write a story. I think it had to be about 20 pages which seemed like an enormous amount to me. By that time I'd fallen madly in love with the romance genre, staying up until one or two o'clock in the morning quite often to read. So I, being the persuasive leader that I am, convinced my group (thankfully all girls) to write a romance. That's right, while everyone else in the class was writing about poverty, social issues, or government my group was writing a Scottish historical complete with a hero named Bryce.
Needless to say, I thought our effort was excellent - until I had to read it aloud in front of the class. I've blocked their response from my mind. It's better not to remember.
I went a long time writing nothing more than average college papers. But I read. I devoured every romance I could get my hands on. I even branched out into some fantasy stuff when none of my favorite authors had a new book out for me to read. I swear, I think I probably averaged 20 - 25 books a month, easy. But the more I read, the more I found myself rewriting the books as I went. Not that there was anything wrong with the way they were originally written...it just wasn't how I would have told the story.
A couple of times during my adult life I started writing, thinking I could do this thing, I could write down what was in my head. I'd stop and start. Think about it, get a chapter, and get pulled away by my job, my husband, pregnancy, life. But the month after my daughter turned one I decided to take it seriously. I'd wandered aimlessly through jobs that meant nothing to me. Writing was something I enjoyed, something I was passionate about, something I could see myself happily doing for the rest of my life.
I wrote my first book in 4 weeks - don't laugh it sucks. But underneath the bad plot, convoluted storyline and inconsistent characters there was a kernel of something good. I found RWA, placed it in a chapter contest where it finaled. I figured maybe I wasn't just being idiotic about my dream. So after it was rejected I tried again, and again. Now I'm working on my fifth book, currently in revisions with Harlequin.
This dream has brought me so much - self confidence, a broader awareness of the world around me, wonderful friends and mentors. I hope my dream of publication comes true but if it doesn't, I've found so much and been so blessed.
We've shared several quotes this week and I'd like to leave you with a favorite of mine. I'm a big fan of successories. One of my favorites is entitled The Essence of Determination:
Determination is born out of purpose...knowing that you are gifted for something and this something must be attained. It is never enough to rely on luck or natural talent. You must, above all, believe in yourself, face your goals, and then fight as if your life depended on it.
Did the path of your life choose you - or did you choose it?
P.S. Today is the last day of our book-a-day giveaway so be sure and post for your chance to win!
P.P.S. Yesterday's winners are KimW (good thing you like NASCAR, huh?), Pat and amy*skf. Please email the Playground Monitor with your snail mail address to get your books.