Being an author was the first job I can remember wanting to do, I was in the third grade. While a number of other things have come and gone since (Egyptologist, artist, bartender, business owner, teacher, filmmaker, lawyer) writing has been the one constant in my life. From a young age I would write stories about twisted fairy tales. Stories where Cinderella was the bad guy, the big bad wolf was really a victim, and Red Riding-hood was nothing more than a con-artist. I would author and illustrate for my fables then take them around to classrooms filled with younger innocent students. I would torture those poor kids, forcing them to listen to my wicked tales while the teacher eyed me with a raised brow. I’m a bit astonished that my parents didn’t receive more calls home, inquiring about my home life and where I came up with such odd ideas. Living in my head, where imagination rules over the realities of life, is still my preference.
The first novel I started (the first of many) was about a girl, who in the first ten pages of the manuscript, loses her best friend to a fatal accident. My first completed short story was about an innocent man accused of murder being dropped into a survival of the fittest game with other actual murderers. To say that I’ve leaned to the darker or more emotional side of things in my writing, is putting it lightly.
It should come as no surprise that today my passion is science fiction and fantasy. When I’m working on a novel, I write two-thousand words per day. That was not a typo, I write 2k words per day. In fact, I’ve earned the title, amongst our writers’ group, of the Drill Sergeant. Encouraging others to get the most out of their time when writing has become a favorite pastime. Writing is not easy, or for the faint of heart. It’s a game filled with rejection, revision, more rejection, and for the lucky few who stick it out through all the negative – publication. I have some great articles lined up from the Drill Sergeant and some much kinder articles about my ups and downs with writing from me, Miranda.
If there is one thing I can speak to as both the DS and myself, is that life provides an endless amount of opportunities to gather nuts for your writing. Half of the battle is simply sitting down and making your writing a priority. Lots of people want to be writers, but far less take the time to make it a priority in their life. It is easy to make excuses and put off that one thing that you’ve been wanting to do. I’m here to offer some advice. If you’re ready to put aside the excuses and buckle down, then you might find what I have to say helpful. After all, the act of doing is only as hard as you make it.
The thing all writers forget at one point or another, is we write to get the story out, we edit to make it readable. The first and hardest part is simply getting that story written. Get it out and write it down. You can change it later. One of my favorite Stephen King quotes sums it up well, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” Get it out of you and onto the paper, computer, typewriter, chalk board, whatever form you use to tell your story. Don’t worry about what other people will think, just write. When we open that figurative door, we edit and make our stories readable. Often this should include beta readers. People who we trust with our writing, who will provide us with valuable feedback. Then we edit again, and again, and again. In fact, editing will feel never ending. Sometimes we pay others to edit our work and it makes it even stronger. Then we put ourselves out there again, offer it up as sacrifice to the readers of the world. Then edit all over again.
What am I currently working on you ask? I’m finishing up the first round of edits on my second science fiction novel. My goal is to get her ready for beta readers by October 31st so that I can push her out of my head, not think about her for several weeks, while I start a new book November 1st. I’ve authored two books alongside my father, this last being one of them. We have a stack of seven more novels with notes and outlines ready to be written. All I have to do is keep up. It was an amazing thing to finally, as an adult, decide that this was what I wanted to do. A number of opportunities have presented themselves to me, as though the universe was simply waiting for me to make the decision. Now I can barely keep up with all of the amazing things going on. I can’t wait to share more updates, stories, and advice on writing with you in a regular column. You can expect to hear from me roughly once a week.
Until next time,