What if you started telling stories to your dolly when you were 3 or 4? What if she just loved every tale you wove? Hung on your every word? Begged for more stories every day, every night? How could you say no?
Didn’t you, when you learned how to handle a pencil, start writing some of those stories? Didn’t you read books or listen to bedtime stories and know in your heart you could write a story with a smarter, funnier, feistier heroine? How could you say no to creating stories?
What if you figured out in school storytellers received little appreciation? School was the place to learn math and science and reading and writing about real people or daily events or factual doings without embroidering your words with unbridled imagination. Singing and drawing and playing fair left little time for writing in the classroom. Outside of class, doing homework, playing with friends, taking baths, eating right and getting enough sleep left little time for writing. TV, video games, movies and all kinds of after-school sports and activities gobbled up spare time like sharks devour fishies.
What if by high school, then college, you buried that desire to write stories that made readers laugh and cry? What if you went about the business of studying hard so you could find a good job, succeed at a career, save for the future and pay off your school loans? What if most days you were tired or distracted or falling in love? What if you fell in love and had a family? What if you fell out of love and had to support your family on your own?
What if you delayed the dream of becoming a writer?
What if you’re fortunate enough to live in the 21st century? Writing in longhand is no longer the only option for creating a story. Getting published no longer falls only to those who have written their entire lives or earned MFAs or met the right people at the right time. Joining other writers no longer takes place only in the salons of Paris or Madrid or London or San Francisco or Boston or NYC.
What if it’s not too late to write? What if it’s never too late to begin the journey of putting words together to grab readers, entertain them, enchant them? What if it’s never too late to listen to your heart? But what if you feel frustrated and discouraged and ready to give up because every word you write is crap? What if you can’t finish writing a story because . . . you can’t write. You cannot write. Why not face the truth?
Face the truth and commit to writing. Once you do commit, you will have days/nights when you’re crazy giddy with creating stories only you can tell. You won’t be able to stop writing.
So . . . what if you take a chance?
Buy a book or two on the craft of writing. Analyze a couple of your favorite stories, taking notes on what works and what doesn’t to make those stories memorable. Join some other writers (in person or on-line—one of the bennies of living in this age of technology). Make an outline. Or not. But then, sit at your computer or at your paper tablet and start writing.
Finish one sentence. Then another. Then a paragraph. Then . . . a chapter! Try to get in the habit of practicing—just like a baseball pitcher or a musician or a master chef. Also, practice selectivity when telling others you’re writing a novel (or short story or screenplay. Some people will think you’re crazy and won’t hesitate to share their opinion). Ignore them.
In the beginning, be kind to yourself. Remember, you probably wouldn’t become a brain surgeon overnight so temper your expectations of appearing on the NYT Bestsellers list after a week, a year, a decade. Or maybe never.
Just savor the joy you feel because you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do. When you decide to publish—Indie, traditional printers, eBooks or self-publish—make the leap realizing you’re doing something that thousands of people secretly want to do, but can’t get past one more question: what if I don’t make enough money to support myself?
Answers abound, but maybe you answer this question with another one: what if you don’t quit your day job?
You don’t have to starve to be a writer. To be a writer, you ask, what if I don’t write?
Between the lines of this blog is the story of my journey to becoming a writer. Every career I pursued (teaching adolescent boys, creating public library programs and developing marketing materials for emerging technologies), I pursued with so much energy that I wrote fiction only occasionally. I never resented working hard because I enjoyed those careers and what I could do for my family by earning money. But . . . I yearned to tell those stories that burned inside me. On business trips or in my spare time, I read and read and read. I made notes. I read more and thought about how I’d write the story I’d just read.
So when the high-tech company I worked for, said, “What if we offered you a buy-out . . . ”
My boss barely got the words out of his mouth. I jumped at the offer and never looked back. I’m not a bestselling author, but I love sitting at my computer every day and weaving stories I create and bring to life. The question for me—and maybe for you—is what if I couldn’t write?
Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
Fifteen months of harassment by the police and tabloids nearly bring trophy wife Robin Lamy to her knees. As the prime suspect in the presumed murder of her missing husband, she fights the terror of life imprisonment, and leaving her ailing mother alone and broke. Still, Robin would rather kiss a snake than cooperate with the Kansas City PD.
Maverick homicide Detective Nick Ketchum doesn’t take Robin’s hostility personally. He knows the circumstantial evidence against her is lame. Worse, the chemistry building between them signals trouble.
Battling the sizzle, Nick gains Robin’s trust. Robin quickly realizes the value of having a cop on her side. Maybe in her bed as well… But will working with Nick bring Robin closer to the truth? Or just closer to danger?
Allie Hawkins writes about mayhem, murder, sex and love in books featuring cats who teach alpha heroes how to win a heroine’s heart. Her alter ego, Barbara Plum, writes romantic comedies set in Silicon Valley, where both writers live—just off the fast lane. Careers in teaching adolescent boys, developing public library programs and creating marketing materials for emerging technologies still fuel her imagination and storytelling. Zumba keeps increasing her gray cells and giving her pleasure away from her computer and cats.
http://www.amazon.com/Unraveled-Allie-Hawkins/dp/1612175538 (Kindle and Paperback)