Who am I?
If only I had known some twenty years ago how much I love to write. Instead, I spent most of my adult life simply paying the bills, while periodically exploring other creative outlets as I searched for my calling. It was not until I was knee deep in a particular book series thinking "I don't like the choices these characters are making" that I started down this path.
It wasn't that I thought I could do a better job than that author, I just imagined the characters taking vastly different turns than what the series presented, and I liked my turns better. So, ten hours of a business trip spent on planes and in airports, and some eight-thousand words later, I had jumped with both feet into the world of writing.
Spurred on by the tenets of NaNoWriMo, even though I had started mid November, I pushed on to the fifty-thousand word goal within thirty days. Time I normally spent reading before bed was instead spent typing on my little Netbook. The breaks at my day job, where I would usually get sucked into the never ending black hole of Facebook, instead became pages and chapters added to my adventure.
But what was the product? Yes, it was a complete story, and I could point to it and say, "I did that," but it was derivative of an idea I had seen in a couple of other places. The story, the characters, the setting, the details of the plot, all of these were my original content, but it landed close enough to fan fiction that I knew it would sit on the shelf for years. What I really gained out of the process was the knowledge that I could write, and that I enjoyed doing it.
And isn't that the point?
I realized that writing is far more rewarding than my music or my photography, or really any creative outlet I had previously attempted. It is, literally, thoughts in my brain channeling through my fingers and onto the screen of my laptop. Amazing! And as I kept writing, I discovered how many times during the day a random tangential thought could lead to a whole new idea, and soon had a file full of thoughts and ideas that coalesced into plot sketches. And that doesn't even touch on the cornucopia of creativity lurking in occasionally remembered dreams. If only I remembered them all.
With that first endeavor on the shelf waiting to be re-imagined, I had to ask myself, "what's next?" When I started the story, I had no delusions of grandeur in becoming a famous author, or even getting published at all, but the few friends that had seen that first work all said something along the lines of, "You should get that published." So, after completing the first project, and with the volume of ideas waiting to be taken up, I set about actually creating a marketable story that was my own that became "Flight of the Nosoi." Getting published, however, was far easier said than done.
With a new goal in mind, I helped found a small writers group called "The Ink is Never Dry," I became a student and sustaining member of the Loft Literary Center, and I have expanded my writing. I joined the Penguin-sponsored online writing community Book Country, where I was even in the Member Spotlight with an early draft of "Nosoi."
But as fun as it was, the balancing act between jumping in with both feet and maintaining my family has hindered the work necessary to get published. Even so, I have not been idle. In small pockets of time here and there, I've had time for world building in the land of Lorithal and start the adventure of Fin and Aadhya through magic and dragons and the loss of their children and relationship. I have written a road map through a devastated world as a mysterious heroine follows a trail through a post-apocalyptic wasteland to find her origns. Add the partially completed sequel to Nosoi to my catalog of projects awaiting an audience, and I have a full plate ahead of me, waiting for their chance to be enjoyed.
And I think that chance is finally just around the corner. The biggest change in my life in recent years is becoming eligible to retire from my day job as an Air Traffic Controller. With mandatory retirement just over the horizon, the prospect of pulling that trigger and devoting all of my spare time to writing is a tempting one. All it would take to push me over that precipice is a little nudge by an interested publisher or agent. The stories I have inside will get out in time.
Very soon, I will be able to say, "Now, the fun begins."