Attention all aspiring authors!
I know a little something about this, so hopefully, I can help.
First off, I never really aspired to be an author. Yes, I’d been known to say, “I should write a book,” about this, or that, at any given moment, but I never meant it, even though, I think deep down, I knew I could if I really set my mind to it.
I had a dream one night, I tend to dream vividly on occasion, and it was such a sweet visual about two little kids playing on some overgrown ruins, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and new dreams could be tweaked to fit the same storyline, and it became my favorite daydream too, another thing I tend to do. After a while, I started thinking that I really should write it into a book, ‘someday’.
For me, someday would be when I had time, when my kids were grown, after I took some refresher courses in grammar, and especially punctuation, and . . . any other excuse I could come up with. I think deep down, in all of us who know we can do it, but don’t, the number one thing keeping us from it is fear.
It took a minute to get going, but I didn’t give up. I just kept letting it grow, writing down one of my favorite scenes from the elaborate story in my head, asking every few seconds, ‘then what?’
I think I’m a tad older than the average YA and Romance writers, and I started feeling my age as another birthday approached. The nagging grew worse, telling me that if someday wasn’t soon, it would never be. That really bothered me.
So, one day, the house was quiet, and I sat down at the computer, just to see . . .
Eventually, I found myself writing every chance I could, to the point I started feeling guilty. I loved it, but at the time, I was only thinking about the audience. I worried I’d spend all this time on it, and it would never sell, so it would all be a waste.
I stopped at one point and asked myself, ‘then what’, again, but felt stumped until it dawned on me that I’d just written my very first chapter. I broke down and sobbed for probably an hour, because I was really proud of myself. Yes, it had all kinds of problems, and no, I didn’t use that first draft. I had to completely rewrite it when it came time to insert that scene into the book.
As far as those doubts about grammar, punctuation, etc., all those other things that keep you from getting started, it is absolutely wonderful that authors nowadays can research right from home. Have a question? It takes two minutes to find a wealth of information, and EDITORS!!! I cannot stress enough the value of a good, CRITICAL editor. If he/she doesn’t make you cry, then you aren’t perfecting your skill. I’ve learned so much, and overcome so many mistakes I made in the beginning. I still make mistakes and will never stop learning, but my editors make sure I don’t embarrassed myself too much.
I was talking with The Hub one day, and expressed my concern, because he too is a very time-productive-oriented person, it runs in the fam. It actually kind of shocked me when he told me to go for it. He said, “If you like doing it, then write it for you, not for the sales.” He also pointed out that our posterity would read it. (We’d just had our first two grandkiddos.) He said they’d read it, or at least, they’d always know that their grandmother wrote a book.
There you go.
Even if you’re the most perfect writer in the world, you still need a fresh set of eyes. I get to the point where I only see what I know it’s supposed to say, not what it really does. After all that, I still find typos in my published work. Ugh!
So, that’s a long, roundabout way to tell you that those books are never going to write themselves, and someday is today, or never.
Sit down, and just do it. You can fix the problems later, after you’ve beaten that fear dragon back into his cave.
S. Jackson Rivera, author of
Jungle: The Whispering Ruins
Wet 1, 2, & 3, a tropical romance series