Since I’m technically retired from the working world, you’d think I’d have more time on my hands than I did when I worked. The reality of it is, now that I’m a self-employed author, I have less time than ever! Some days, I’m so busy writing, editing, and trying to promote my work, everything else, including the occasional meal, goes on hold. Honestly, if I miss a few meals, I’m not going to fade away, but I know that sitting at the computer for ten hours at a time, isn’t the smartest thing for me to do at my age–at any age for that matter.
I’m not sure my family completely understands my enslavement to the computer and my writing muse. My daughter looks at me and shakes her head. Why do you do this? If you consider the fact that I have three novels out there, and haven’t made a cent from my writing yet, it does seem a crazy thing to do, but I have faith. In the end, the monetary rewards will join the feel-good ones I have now. It takes time to build a following. Since my books are e-books, not available in brick and mortar book stores, it makes it that much harder. So, the question begs to be answered: why am I doing this?
I wish I had an easy answer, but I don’t. I’ve called my blog, Living the Dream, because that’s what all of this is. I’ve always wanted to write, to let my imagination soar. I remember sitting at a manual typewriter when I was sixteen and pounding out what I hoped would be the next great romance masterpiece. Back then, when we didn’t have the technology we have today, doing such a thing was a daunting task–one life forced me to put on hold for almost fifty years.
The desire to share words and stories with others didn’t disappear; it was redirected. As a teacher, I did some of that in a limited way, trying to encourage my students to love reading and creative writing. but I always felt as if something were missing. If I’d become a writer, how many more people could I have reached? There were people all around the world who picked up books for the pleasure of reading every day. I wanted to add something to other lives. I wanted to entertain them, if only for a moment.
Thanks to the technological advances of the last century, what was impossible to me fifty years ago became doable last year. I wrote a book as part of the SYTYCW contest. It still sits in my computer waiting to be edited and sent to a publisher, but the fact that I wrote a book opened the floodgates of my imagination, allowing me to write another, and another, and another. Since September 2012, I have completed eight manuscripts of my own as well as two with my writing partner. Three have been published, three more will be published by Christmas. Two are currently with editors. The only one not out there, is the original one that started the ball rolling. My latest work is an entry into this year’s SYTYCW contest.
The idea of knowing that someone has bought my books, read them, and enjoyed them, is immensely satisfying. When someone I know personally tells me they enjoyed my books, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. I’m grateful to be able to share this God-given talent with others. It’s also incredibly satisfying to receive reviews from professional reviewers that praise the quality of my work. Fire Angel got some three, four and five star reviews, but so far all the reviews I’ve been getting for In Plain Sight and The Captain’s Promise have been five star ones. I’m not naive enough to believe that my work is flawless and will please everyone, but I do thing the reviews show that I’m doing something right. I just need to be patient and wait for others to take a chance on my work. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will be my reputation as an author.
So, the answer to the question: why do I do this? I do it because I love it. Yes, it’s time-consuming.Yes, it’s hard work, but something worth doing is worth doing right. I love sharing my stories and imagination with others. If I can take someone out of the grim reality of everyday life, then I’ve achieved what I set out to do. If the characters who live within me can make a difference to someone else, then the sacrifice is worth it. Who knows–the next manuscript might be the one that makes my reputation.