In September 2014, I went to my first-ever writer’s conference. When my longtime friend, Rachelle, proposed it, I was hesitant. I’d never been to a writer’s conference before, and was I a real writer, anyway? Yes, I make a living writing, but does that even count?
We spent two full days in L.A., surrounded by other writers who, like us, had stories to share.
Something happened there.
It wasn’t a tickle fight (which my husband always asks about when I go on an overnight trip with a girlfriend).
It was that it gave me a new perspective–one that allowed me to open my mind to the possibility that my dream of becoming a real writer might unfold differently than I’d originally thought it would.
I’d always imagined I’d become a traditionally-published author. You know, I’d write a breathtaking work of genius, some agent would snatch it up, and she’d sell it to a publisher for, like, a gazillion dollars. I’d be on my way.
But as many writers know, that process can take years. Probably even decades.
I’d always thought of self-publishing as a desperate, last-ditch-effort kind of thing. I mean, it was for authors who just weren’t good enough to be traditionally published.
But at the writer’s conference, I met so many brilliant writers–so many people who were as passionate about writing as I am. And a good number of them planned to self-publish, or had already.
They weren’t losers. They were good writers. They were witty and funny and they were brave.
So that’s when I decided that I would do it. I’d already written a few novels and I knew I had more stories to tell. Why not polish one up that I’d already written, and publish it? I can always pursue traditional publishing later, if I want to, but why not just put something out there and see if people enjoy reading it?
Over the course of the next year, I revamped and polished “The Dating Intervention.” I’d always planned for it to be the first book in a trilogy, so I wrote two more books to follow it up.
I still didn’t have a firm plan for when I’d actually hit the big red “Publish” button, though.
Then, in early summer, my friend and designer, Bree, who also edits and lays out the magazine I write for, asked if I’d like to be featured in the magazine’s August 1 issue. As an author.
I published all 3 books in The Intervention Series in August, and I haven’t looked back.
No, I haven’t made, like, a gazillion dollars. And yes, the learning curve–when it comes to a new writing software, new book-related websites, cover design, advertising, networking–has been huge.
But I have had so much fun! I’ve spent the past 13 years writing stories about and for other people–first as a reporter and now as a marketing writer. Now I finally get to write and market and sell for me.
And you know what the best part is? Getting those books out there has encouraged me to continue to write. I’ve written the next two books in my next series, and I plan to start the third next month. It’s all practice for that future book that knocks readers’ socks off.
So what’s my point? It’s that sometimes your dream unfolds differently than you always thought it would. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay! It’s great.
As we look forward to 2016, I plan on building my author business, writing more books, and making more connections with other writers and readers.
I’d love to hear from you: are you putting any of your dreams on hold because they’re not proceeding exactly like you expected them to? What can you change to move them forward?