Friday, June 29, 2012

Look Back, Looking Forward

It has been 29 years since I sold my first story and became a published author. I'd been a storyteller for a long time, making up stories about animals and later writing episodes of my favorite tv shows that included me. (I guess that would now be called fan-fiction--who knew?) Writing just seemed to be a part of me, and I never thought about how difficult it is for non-writers to understand what drives us. When I first married, my husband certainly didn't understand. He used to call me John-boy when I'd sit in the corner of the bedroom, pecking away on my old Smith-Corona typewriter. Some might remember the tv show from the 1970s, The Waltons, where the oldest son in a large family wanted to be a writer. His family often didn't understand. (The  character was actually based on the real-life author of the series, Earl Hamner.) It took me 11 years to finally get published after I started writing seriously. The day I called my husband at work to read him my first acceptance letter from a magazine AND to announce they were actually paying me a nice sum of money for my writing, I'm pretty sure he was stunned. (Well, so was I!) I guess it is hard for a non-writer to "get" what it is that makes someone want to spend so much time with imaginary people. But money does talk.

Those early days of being published were very exciting, and today when I hear of a writer publishing a first story or book, I remember the thrill and the head-in-the-clouds feeling. Of course things have changed tremendously since I sold my first story. The world of digital publishing has turned everything upside down and new rules are being written everyday. Self-publishing, which was once so frowned upon, is now becoming totally acceptable. I'm reworking and revising some of those stories published years ago and plan to give them new life as e-book collections. My family has become, over the years, my biggest supporters. They just know writing is a  part of who I am and they understand. They read my stuff. My daughter maintains my website. My son asks, are you writing, Mom?  Best of all, my husband no longer calls me John-boy.