By Keith N Fisher
When I began to write, it was simply a way to relieve stress. I wrote two novels before I got serious. After getting a rejection that suggested I find a workshop or conference, I considered quitting. The editor obviously didn’t understand my work.
It took a few weeks, but I finally acquiesced. The manuscript wasn’t ready, neither was the writing. I went to the library and checked out writing books. I consulted the Internet, looking for workshops. Most importantly, I began the rewrite my novel.
I deleted some things, added so much more. In the meantime, I started another book, then another. Plot ideas occurred to me at some of the most inopportune times, Even whole books, from start to finish. Becoming a better writer wasn’t easy, considering my performance in high school English.
Finally, I found a conference and learned a lot. In one class, we were told, if we write, we are writers and I began to think of myself as a writer. Coming to grips with that presented a few problems. What have you published? What do you write? That’s a great hobby, what do you do for a living? The questions were myriad causing a little doubt. Still, I persevered. How could I not continue? I had characters waking me at night.
After a while, I noticed a sense of pride come over me. Writing was my day job, I was being paid for some things, but writing wasn’t paying the bills. Several books and multiple blog posts later, I started a critique group. We met once a week and I’ll always be grateful for their help.
It was about that time, I fell in love with the idea being a successful writer. I dreamed of the mountain retreats and beach houses I would purchase after becoming a best seller. I wasn’t fooling myself, however. I knew the LDS market would never bring that kind of money, but it was fun to dream about.
The romance of being a writer kept me going. Others have moved into the e-book and self-published markets, with great results, but I’ve held out. The validation that comes from a traditional publishing contract keeps me working.
Because of my love affair with being a writer, I’ve written many books. (Maybe somebody can self publish them after I’m dead). Maybe I’ll bring out several books a year and never have to write something new.
I’ve changed my direction, though. I’m writing national market, non-LDS. With the restrictions gone, my writing has gone in several directions. I might have to publish some of this stuff under a pseudonym, but it’s good stuff, none the less.
So I sit here deeply involved in my romance. I am a writer who probably should’ve started in the nineteen-seventies. Writing back then was a different, reclusive thing. I could’ve rested on my mountaintop retreat, knocking out book after book.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.