There’s a question writers ask themselves: if no one was to read your work, would you still write?
The answer for me is no.
I write because I want to communicate something. The emergence of writing in me was slow and it came by accident. I was restless in my job and trying to think of a new hobby. A boyfriend at the time said, “You have a way of putting things. Why don’t you try writing?” I thought: does this guy not know me at ALL?
I hated writing essays in school, and have always been a slow reader, so writing was the last thing I would have thought of. But for fun I tried it anyway and amused myself with the beginnings of a story about a young couple who go on a holiday and never return home. I probably would have dropped the exercise except that I discovered around the same time that I could work a 4 day week with my contract in I.T.
So I decided to do a writing course (a friend of mine worked for a correspondence college) and take Fridays off as my writing day. When my first assignment – a short story – came back marked 100%, there were celebratory drinks! I remember I had played where’s-the-conflict with the plot, cross-legged on my couch and had fallen in love with the little story. But despite continuing to do well on the course, I lost the motivation to finish anything and only occasionally felt inspired to write a burst of prose that was then discarded.
The rest of my life was busy: I moved countries and jobs and was gaining experience in my career. Along the way I witnessed the various calamities that are typical of large corporations, but they seem to be compounded in I.T. by a lack of trust between management and Tech staff. “You couldn’t make this stuff up,” people often muttered about management decisions that beggared belief in our tech-sphere. I found myself with a growing desire to explain this phenomenon – or at least express it. That’s when a plot formed in my mind and the writing bug kicked in.
Having never written anything longer than 3000 words, I bit off more than I could chew, losing weekends to re-editing and re-plotting as a story became a short novel. I developed an interest in poetry and lyrics, trying to find inspiring prose, and to my surprise, began writing poetry. Having a poem published was an amazing feeling – seeing the formal black print on shiny white paper, words that had started out scrawled on a notepad in the middle of the night!
I also created my website around this time, on the advice of writers groups that encourage us to build an e-profile early. With plenty to say down the pub over a drink, suddenly I had no opinions when it came to the big ‘Publish’ button on my blog. So I started blogging about the submissions process I was going through with my novel – the rejections and the advice. I also blogged when I had a poem published and gradually a new world opened up through the writing community.
Eventually I gained the confidence to deviate from the topic of writing to blog about things that were on my mind. Recently I started a series of interviews called Virtual Coffee Interviews. The idea is to interview people I’ve met through the writing industry with whom I’d love to sit over a coffee to pick their brains – so I’m doing it virtually.
But the biggest gain on this path – told through my blog – was of course the publication of my book, The I.T. Girl, in March 2013.
I was just at the stage of considering self-publishing – it seemed a short novel about a woman who takes on the I.T. world, with love on the side, wasn’t on the agenda of the publishing community. But then I went to a talk with Endeavour Press and it happened they were a new publishing house looking to rejuvenate the era of the short novel through e-books. We were a match! Reaching that milestone after 3 years of weekend writing brought intense relief!
Since then I have been getting to grips with the marketing side of publishing. It’s a steep learning curve, but an interesting difference between ebooks and paperback is that an ebook doesn’t go out of stock, it’s always available so there’s less time pressure on connecting with readers – there’s time to figure out how you want to do it. I’m involved in writers communities, blog tours and the usual social networking sites. I also enter poetry competitions and came runner up in the Thynks Healing Poems competition last year.
My motto has always been: if there’s a readership for my book, I want to find it. Like every writer, I find it difficult to juggle writing time with blogging and marketing. These days I get up an hour early to start the day with writing. I’m working on my second novel and hope to eventually publish a book of poems.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Featuring Women Writers on WWWB 2013 - Women Writers, Women Books | December 31, 2013