Mostly, I blog about my life growing up on Hilton Head Island. Sometimes, I throw in a couple of posts about planning, architecture, and history because those are my passions and basically that’s what I write about. Today, I think I just want to talk about my writing experiences in general.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an author. I say “author” rather than “writer” because I have always written something, whether it be a creative writing assignment or scribbling a tragic entry in my journal. While growing up, I used to have this narrative of my life in my head, mapping out who said what and oddly enough, describing the scenery around me. I knew that someday what I had formulated in my mind, I would put down on paper professionally and that would make me an “author.”
Yesterday one of my favorite authors, Eric Jerome Dickey requested that his fans post pictures of all of the books we have that had been written by him. I was certainly up to that task and by the time I enthusiastically pulled all of my books from storage, I had about fifteen books written by EJD that I owned. So as I was taking pictures of my books, I found myself wondering how long would it be until I had enough books written to ask whatever fans that I may fortunate to have, to pull out all of their books that I have penned, to take a photograph to post on my page. While I do not yet know the answer to that question, I do know that I have to be patient and recognize that this particular author, as well as others, took time to build their fan base of loyal readers. And in spite of what some may say (or post) there is plenty of room for all of us writers. I know this for a fact because of the boxes of books in my garage by countless authors of different genres and I’m always adding to my “To Be Read” list.
So anyway, the pictures that I had taken and posted on Twitter of my fifteen books written by Eric Jerome Dickey was actually retweeted by him and I could have just passed out from happiness. Will I ever have that affect on my readers someday? Time will tell. And that’s the point – It will take time.
Are you from the Low Country? Do you have a love for History? Are you a Civil War Buff? Do you enjoy a good mystery? My new novel, Marshland has all of the above for you to read and enjoy two months from today. I’m so excited!
I read somewhere that an author doesn’t become well-known unless he or she has at least five novels published. I have actually written five novels. I just completed my fifth manuscript last month, which I plan to have ready for an audience in two months. But here’s the “gotcha.” I haven’t published five novels and that is a huge difference. When I started writing, I didn’t have the resources that are available now. If as a kid, I was able to upload my work for everyone to read and hopefully, enjoy, I would have sure enough done so then. Perhaps, I too could have been on the Today Show, explaining how I became a millionaire writer at 15. Actually, the being a millionaire as a result of my writing is a longer shot than becoming published. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the opportunities to publish because I do enjoy writing and show casing my work. I probably won’t publish the first three manuscripts that I have written. I’ll just call those “practice runs.” So if we want to get technical, I am actually three novels away from becoming a known author. I am willing to put in the work to accomplish that goal and beyond. Also, I am hoping that I am not alone my journey and that I am successful in building an audience of loyal readers, joining the ranks of accomplished writers.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost two years now. While at home, I am not content with just the everyday tasks of managing a household. In between chasing my toddler around, I am writing my latest novel. It’s funny that when I wrote The Promise of Palmettos, my older child was a toddler as well. Maybe some people are saying that I am a glutton for punishment. I could say that it makes things more interesting. As I have blogged before, I hand-write my manuscripts. As my little one plays on the floor, I am outlining plots and building scenery with my words. Just when I have figured it all out in my mind and I’m about to put it down on paper, snatch! The pen is now in my baby’s little hand and he’s running away from me laughing. After retrieving my pen and getting him interested in a toy, preferably one that makes noise, I am able to put that thought that I miraculously kept in my head down on paper. At this point, there is a pungent odor in the air. I sniff again to make sure and with a sigh, I put my writing to the side again, hoist my child onto my lap and quickly change his diaper. Now that he’s fresh and dry, I get baby interested in another noisy toy and pick up where I left off. I am actually able to get a couple of pages written and suddenly, I feel a sharp pain on my head. I was just cold-cocked with a Fisher Price product. After the stars clear, I try to resume but there are several escape attempts from the designated play space, unauthorized wicker chest entries, a game of snatch and hide the t.v remote, and finally a scream as a result of the child trying to head-butt the corner of the ottoman. The boo boos are kissed and the baby is content once more. And so I pick my work up again and one or two sentences are written when finally I am being scaled like I’m the wall and he is Spiderman. Ok dude, I get the hint. At this point, I give up, put the work to the side and we’re on for the Wheels on the Bus.
The manuscript is put away for several hours as I tend to the household chores and the needs of my other son. People may ask why I don’t wait until naptime to write. Considering that I get up three times a night still for feedings and I have to get up at the crack of dawn, his naptime is my naptime. Writing with a small child is a process. I do a little at a time until its finally finished. It takes a lot of patience. When I look back on the whole process, I will wonder how I even finished at all and then I’ll laugh. I’ll laugh because by then it will be funny.