All of my life, I knew that I liked to write creatively. As a young child, I would fill lonely hours by creating fictional characters and stories. I recognized, even though I was young, that these characters took on a personality of their own and could become friends to fill my days. Now, don’t get the impression that I sat in a dimly lit room at the age of seven, pen in hand, talking to imaginary friends. No. I had a great childhood. I had horses, dogs, my parents, and an older brother. What I didn’t have, until my teens, was children my age who lived close enough to me so that we could play together. Creating my own stories gave me those friends.
My first story was about a girl who loved horses and who would go out on adventures. Without knowing what I was doing, I had used one of the key tools to successful fictional writing: I wrote about things that I knew. While the story itself was probably not very good, the very fact that I was able to create it and stay with it for 212 pages of handwritten text says a lot. Reflecting on it now, I realize that my true calling all along was to write. And now, 40 years later, I am going to answer that call.
One of the things I have discovered on this new journey is that once I began making a concerted effort to create, the floodgates were opened. It seems that I have a backlog of poems, stories, essays, blogs, and conversations somewhere in my mind. Over the last month, I have created manuscripts for four children’s picture books, a series of eight children’s writing process books, and one middle-school chidlren’s chapter book. I have also begun a second children’s chapter book and three books for adults on dealing with specific aspects of public education. And then there is the collection of 39 (and counting) poems to help people deal with traumatic and stressful times. Oh, and I have also created three websites, each of which require me to blog on a daily or weekly basis. All of this may sound like a lot of work to some people, but to me, it has been a joy.
With the mounting collection of manuscripts and poems, I have also had to begin my journey to understand the publishing industry. That in itself could take a lifetime. There are so many legitimate options available and more than a fair share of scams so that it takes a lot of studying to find the right publisher for me.
As with most things, I am a traditionalist, so I would prefer to have my work handled by an old-fashioned publisher. I’d love to just focus on the creative aspect of my books and let the publisher handle all of the printing, distribution, marketing, shipping, etc. I can see myself just sitting back and collecting the small royalty checks as they come in. Michael, on the other hand, is a proponent of our doing self-publishing. He says that by investing a relatively small amount up front, we can maintain complete ownership over the books that we publish. We would reap all of the financial rewards. But, we would have to handle all of the work associated with publishing as well. As of today, we are still undecided but I am sending out inquiries to publishers, just in case.
If you have ever considered yourself to be a writer, even if it was way back in your youth, I suggest that you give yourself a chance to write once again. At the very least, you will find a hobby that celebrates your creative side and, at the very most, you may find that yourself becoming a published author, enhancing the lives of those who read your books. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?