In the last year I've launched myself as an author.
Before that, writing was a hobby that I struggled with, fought internally over and one that I often resisted. I would spend hours, days writing a story that went nowhere and was shared with few.
I struggled, because my background was computers. In school I loved math and science. I did poorly in writing classes. To this day I can't pick apart a sentence, and say this is a verb, this is the adjective (I can't even spell that word without spellcheck). Yet, I love to write.
I fought, because my stories took me in directions that were hard morally for me to accept. If you'd have asked me even a few years before now, what I thought about mermaids, fairies and the silly things I conceive in my work now, I'd have thought you were crazy and it wasn't me.
I resisted, yet I wrote. My early writings were poor, the dialogue lackluster. I struggled to like what I wrote, and several times would purge my computer of all my thoughts. Then I'd try and recover them from the hard drive with a recovery program. Yes, I lost some parts and whole sections of material.
Eventually I put down writing completely. It wasn't me. It wasn't working and I thought myself no good at it.
About two years ago I read some books, and had some ideas. I wrote an intro chapter. A friend read it, and surprisingly liked it and told me I had talent. He'd read a lot of friends manuscripts and said mine was better. It was rather surprising to me as well. He suggested I continue.
After another chapter that my friend liked, I thought if I do this, I'm going all the way to a book. It isn't going to be another hobby story that sits on my hard drive never to be read. That was harder than it appeared, and life has a way of getting in the mix. For a time I had to put the book aside and do actual work.
As of June of last year, I finally had a break and was able to concentrate on the writing. In a month and a half I poured out 85,000 words and had a rough draft. A better description would be I had a spaghetti draft. From then on it was taking my new puzzle and rearranging it, creating the solved puzzle that eventually became "Mermaid Rising." At some point I had to come up with a title, had the book edited and a cover made.
It all came together rather well. I felt inspired in the writing, a divine hand in helping me with the cover and choosing an editor. Though it wasn't like I felt "God" in the beginning. I always thought my calling in life was computers. I was good at it, and I loved coding.
The Divine has a way of showing up if you include them in your life. From first chapter to the end, God showed up and pushed me out of the house to "Go write." Not that God gave me specifics, like use this gal for the cover, or this guy for the editor. No, I had to do my homework and research possibilities, but once I felt "God" say, go with this person - my research was done.
The cover was a miracle story on its own. My sister in law recommended a photographer. I sent the photographer my thoughts, she got back to me, but I never saw that email. A few months went by, and I emailed her again. We discussed the mix up, and she told me that she'd just photographed a girl that on her own wanted some of her family photos as a mermaid. The photographer suggested I look at them, and if I liked any we'd talk to the family. Long story short, I did like a couple, the family approved and the lovely lady graces the cover.
Once a book is edited, there were many things to fix. The English language isn't a strong point in my life, so the returned manuscript had more red than black. Which meant reading them, accepting or rejecting, and much of the time rewriting parts and whole passages.
One of the common questions the editor had, was, "Why are they doing this here? You didn't allude to the need earlier." Yes, because either I'd moved a paragraph down and it was now no longer before the action, or it had been removed entirely. Did I mention the spaghetti I'd written?
I'm more confident now, I've recently self published my 2nd book, "The Mermaid's Apprentice." There was a lot less red in the returned manuscript from the editor, which meant a quicker route to getting it published. The cover was made and the manuscript readied for print and e-book.
I had seemingly clear direction when writing M2, that when I began writing M3 that I fell into a funk. It's because when a book is ready to be published, it looks amazing. Everything is lining up and the ideas are polished, no longer being created from scratch. You've probably heard an artist is never satisfied, and a work never finished or good enough. Still, from the vantage of M3, M2 was amazing. It was hard to imagine a coherent M3 from the beauty M2 had become and the finished work of M1.
Yay for M3. I know it will be good, because M1 and M2 became so. For the nonce it is writing, keep on writing and maybe someday I'll have that spaghetti draft - then I'll know I have something I can work with.
Maybe for a moment you can appreciate my method as this post is somewhat like I write, a free-flowing set of ideas that slowly make up a post. Writing is like that, for me. I don't have a clear idea of what I'm going to write as I set down to write. I'll know the first sentence or two, but after that it is all random thoughts that fit with the original idea. I encourage others (who want to write, but don't know how to get started) is to pick a simple phrase, "A light is under the door, and when the door opens..." what is next? It can be many things from our imaginations, and no two people will write the same thing.
So this is me. I'm an author. I write and imagine a world where girls have adventures.
- This was an article I wrote originally on LinkedIn - Creating Order From Chaos. I've updated it here, and added a few more process thoughts.
Note: This post was resurrected from my old site. It may not be the one that showed up on the site. The date of publication here is from when it was added to this site.