Young motherhood, in many ways, put an end to my days of carefree reading. Little people won't wait until you finish a page or a chapter, and certainly not an entire book; their needs are always immediate. It wasn't until my husband was deeply embedded in business school at the University of Pennsylvania that I found myself with the kind of alone time I hadn't had in years. My girls went to bed early, and nights were mine to read voraciously. Good books, bad books, mediocre books. I remember setting down one such mediocre book halfway through it, and declaring, "I could write better than this!"
The idea percolated in my brain for several months. I ordered "Writing Fiction for Dummies" from Amazon. It recommended writing down some long-term writing goals and taping them to your mirror. Somewhere I still have that piece of paper I taped to the mirror that says, "My goal: get published by the time I'm 33."
Those were the early days. I was naive. I wrote a whole YA dystopian book without much feedback except for one of my sisters and a few close friends. But I was shy about my writing, embarrassed even. Somehow, while reading that mediocre book, I'd failed to realize how much goes into writing a book - storyline, pacing, characters, emotion, nuance, and the list goes on. And I couldn't stand the thought of people knowing I was a writer if I wasn't any good.
Time passed, and we moved and got pregnant, had a baby, and moved again. It wasn't until my youngest was almost a year old that I got the itch (and found the time) to start writing again. This time it was a completely different genre, inspired by some lines of a song I listened to as I did the dishes. I started writing a regency romance.
This time, I got serious. I found some writing groups. I got feedback. Real feedback, from real writers. And my writing improved tremendously, as did my self-confidence. In the fall of 2017 I attended two writing conferences where I pitched my book. I submitted to three different publishers and have started several new projects.
I turn 34 in a few months, and I'm still not published. But in the process of striving for my goal, I became an author. Thank you for being here to support me.
***That first manuscript is still tucked away somewhere, safe from the eyes of the world. Time will tell if it ever gets to see the light of day.