So I decided I really need to start blogging more. I'm just gonna write y'all….my every day life is making sure my grammar and shit is correct, but on here….I'm just spewing from my fingers!
This past month I've been celebrating the two year anniversary of writing Wanted. As I was driving this morning it all kind of hit me.
What an amazing two years this had been. Let me pause for a moment to pinch myself. Nope…I'm not dreaming.
I get asked by so many people how long have I wanted to write. My answer…since I can remember. I would say I knew for sure when I was about 15. I wanted to write children's books. I wrote all the time, poems, silly stories, letters to my friends (who would always moan because they knew it was going to be long because I never shut up), journals…you name it and I was writing something.
Then I went to college. Which was not easy for me to do. I grew up with a single mother who most of the time worked two jobs to just make ends meet. It took me longer than I wanted, but I made it to college. I took a creative writing class and the professor I swear hated me. No joke. Everything I turned in he failed me on. I mean…everything. He told me I wrote in circles and my dream of becoming an author would never happen. I didn't have what it took and I should find something else in life to do.
One assignment I had to write an article about a hot topic going on at that time. I picked gay marriage. I wrote my piece and turned it in. He failed me. I was pissed and asked him why. He gave me no real reason. Nothing. He then challenged me to send it into the local paper. If they printed it, he'd give me an A. I took him up on his challenge and sent it in, they published it and he gave me an A. Not before he told me I would still never make it as an author.
I was devastated to say the least. All I ever wanted to do was write down the stories floating in my head. But…it seemed I was no good. I lacked what it took to be a write. So I quit school. I got a job working for an orthodontist and stayed there for a number of years until I had my daughter. I never stopped writing though. I kept journals, that I ended up throwing away when I filled them up (kick self in ass). I began writing 'family newsletters'. Or little stories about life as a new mother. I would do anything I could to just…write.
One day a friend of mine came over. I can't even remember how old my daughter was at the time, but my friend read a journal I kept while I was pregnant and the first year of my spawns life. She sat there and laughed her ass of. Then she would start crying and then start laughing. I sat across from her and wondered what she had smoked that morning to cause her to cry, laugh, cry, and then laugh so hard I couldn't tell if she was crying from sadness or laughter.
Then she spoke 8 words. "You should publish this. You're a great writer." I froze, my heart began pounding and I'm pretty sure I broke out into a sweat. I replied with a simple…"Really?"
My friend left, I tucked the journal away and moved on with my life. After all, she was a friend…she wasn't going to say it sucked. I started working for a high school library. I've always loved to read, but I found myself reading even more to keep up with these kids….my gosh some of them could read two books in a day! It was in the back of my mind always….I really should write a book. I ended up leaving, I wanted to be home with my daughter. So I was back to being a stay at home mom.
One day while driving home from dropping my daughter off a song came. That song….Wanted by Hunter Hayes changed my life that day. A story popped into my head. Now this was not the first time a story has popped into my head from a song. I won't even begin to try and tell you how many times I laid in bed and wrote a story out in my head…I curse myself for not writing that shit down! I had some great idea! Anywho…Gunner and Ellie's story came to life.
I came home. Sat down at my kitchen table and I wrote. And wrote….and wrote some more. I couldn't stop. I had found my passion again. Something I loved to do. Something that fueled a desire in my heart that I still to this day can not explain.
One month later I was done. My very dear friend Molly McAdams told me, "Pick a pen name before you publish." I laughed. "Nothing will come of it!" I said in reply. I really should learn to listen to Molly. She tells me this all the time.
Well…something came of it. Why? I have no clue, but I'm forever grateful and feel so very blessed. Gunner and Ellie's story was not my life….nor was it someone I know. It was just a story that came into my head, on a drive, while listening to a song.
Two years later and I'm about to release my 11th book. People ask me do I like what I do? Um…hell to the YES! I LOVE what I do. I love that with each book I feel like I grow as a writer. I love the people I've met along the way. I love that my daughter knows that if you truly believe in something with all your heart you can make it come true. I love that moment when someone sends me an email saying I changed their life. I sit back in my chair and just say…"Wow, is this really happening?" Do I do it for money? No. If I did I don't think the passion would be there. Is it my income…yep it sure is. My goal is to stay true to my writing. I write for me and no one else. By staying true to that I know I will put out the best damn story I possibly can. If I touch more than one person's heart…then that is just freaking amazing.
My only regret in all of this. I didn't do this when I was told I couldn't do it. Maybe had I believed more in myself, my mother would have been alive to see me hit New York Time and USA Today. Part of this journey has been lonely. I've lost friends, and family along the way. Just more lessons to learn I guess.
Like I said above, I'm about to release my 11th book. I couldn't do this without the readers. They are awesome and I adore them so very much. I don't think I will ever really be able to express how much I appreciate them. They are the reason my dreams have come true.
Someone please….pinch me. 'Cause I sure hope I'm not dreaming.