I love to write. As a child in school, I used to write notes and stories about my friends dating the guys they liked in 6th grade. So my notes were pretty long. I had learned how to write these love story notes - young adult fiction - because as a voracious reader I would steal my older sister's Harlequins. These were books I had no business reading at that age.
In high school, I won a poetry contest and was published in a book with thousands of others, at age sixteen. My writing future seemed bright. I went on to study creative writing in college but as I got older the writing seemed to get pushed aside. The coffin was sealed when a professor told me that I didn't have a knack for writing. It wasn't his fault. He was a children's book professor and though I used to write young adult as a child about my peers, I was an adult now and wanted to write about grownups. I was just in the wrong genre. I didn't know that at the time and a stable job and income seemed like a better path. I travelled the world trying to find that elusive passion for something else. Education came close but never quite hit the mark.
So, one day, I'm sitting at my desk as an education administrator and a question comes into my mind.
"If I died tomorrow, what would I regret?"
"Not publishing a book," I answered myself.
I was struck with a flurry of emotions. Panic was first. I thought back to grad school, where miraculously with my course load and job, would just write love stories. I wrote a short little 85,000-word story that I used to read and enjoy. I even thought of publishing it at one point.
Sitting at my desk I remembered that novel, but that professor's voice popped into my head and encouraged inaction. Then I wondered which would feel worse: inaction or having finally published that bucket list book?
I started researching. I had no connections so I started researching publishers, agents, how to write query letter, how to promote. I sent my novel out and the rejections started to come in. Uh oh! The doubt started to surface, again. "Can I write? Am I any good? Is the universe telling me that I'm on the wrong path?"
After 8 months I decided to self-publish. I did a bit of research and found Author House. I should have researched more, edited better but imperfectly perfect was the end result. This was 2005 and the self-publishing industry was very different. I could afford a super tiny marketing plan, but there was no big splash in the papers, blog tour or fanfare. The book, SINGLE BY CHOICE?, had a small cult following and nothing more.
Failure right? Not at all! Why? Well, because I made progress toward a goal and planted seeds of possibilities. So what did I do after that? Nothing. Actually, I was in a bad five-year relationship and drowned emotionally and creatively in corporate job, you know, the stuff that makes good books!
In March 2013, I transitioned out of that corporate job to pursue my dream of being a full time writer and pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams. Another big risk but I am finally working toward my dreams and goals with tenacity and that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't taken a chance and self-published, even when traditional publishing for my book seemed bleak. So, here are & things I learned which are not tips I have for you:
1. Write (create), Write (edit), Write (research)
2. Have a goal and write it down. Decide what kind of writer you want to be (ex. indie, hybrid, traditional). Know WHY you want this. It will drive you toward your goals.
3. Read and Research - This applies to your book, your genre and the industry. Try to become as good and consistent at this as possible.
4. Market yourself. Join groups, build relationships, find an accountability partner, find critique partners.
5. Practice total wellness. Eat well, exercise and meditate
6. Don't give up! Someone wants to read what you have written. FIND THEM!♥
Jennifer Welsh continues to write and work toward her ideal dream of being a hybrid author. If you have questions and/or would love to connect with her, please email her at email@example.com or via www.jnwelsh.com.