Saturday, July 6, 2013

When Did I Decide to Be A Career Writer?

Louisa May Alcott Wikimedia
I always knew I was a writer, since I started telling stories as a little kid when I ran out of books to read. Somehow I never really felt I could be a writer for a living, at least not for a long, LONG time. I think somewhere along the line I took the example of Jo in Little Women too much to heart and didn't see how I could ever make a living on a penny a word, living in the attic. (Come to think of it, our house didn't even have an attic!)

So I concentrated diligently all through high school and year one of college on becoming a Spanish teacher, mostly because my imagination wasn't too broad at that point and I idolized my Spanish teacher. To my young transplanted-Southern self, she seemed like the most sophisticated, got it all under control, successful adult woman I knew. Not only was that career choice not a good idea for yours truly, I chose my college solely because my favorite English teacher had gone there. It was a tiny, elite, fraternity & sorority ruled school in a very remote place, I'd NEVER been away from home, was painfully shy...can we say disaster? Oh, I pulled the grades of course but Totally not the college's fault.

I'll save the story of how I escaped that Fate for another day (never know what topics my fellow Word Whores are going to throw at me!). Sooo, moving on, after I got married to my high school sweetie, we were a team, he wanted an equal partner in all things so we both went to Long Beach State and I majored in business, which I turned out to have a head for. Me and Melanie Griffith, right? I'll wait... Anyway, I selected that major because I have a pretty practical approach to life (my best friend is laughing his head off right now but I do, just not my own life, ok?)

Now, regressing a bit, in high school I did become bold enough to submit some short stories to Analog, IF and Galaxy magazines. I was proud of those form rejection slips because at least I had tried and (being woefully naive) I thought John Campbell and Frederick Pohl had read my stories and personally rejected them. It was some kind of badge of honor in my head - I was in the writing game, collecting my obligatory pile of rejection slips. On the other hand, I've never quite understood how some anonymous person at Seventeen magazine failed to observe the total brilliance of my short story wherein a famous matador fell hopelessly in love with the visiting high school senior niece of the American ambassador. (I may still bear a grudge.)

At any rate, Life happened, as it does, and it wasn't until 2009 that all the right things came together and I started seriously trying to write, to hone my craft, to dream about a second career as a published author. Today, with two books published and three more coming out in the next six months, I'm VERY seriously taking a long view and working toward that wonderful day I can quit the day job and be a fulltime author.

So, that's me!

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