I have published six books but it’s only recently I’ve begun telling people I am a writer. Before my dizzying dance on the top of the Amazon Best Seller list, I defined myself as my day job, a career coach who by the way, wrote books. Being a writer was something I thought only other people did, even as my books appeared on the bookshelves of tens of thousands of people.
Being a writer, really BEING a writer, takes a serious investment of time and energy. My characters sit in the back of my mind, whispering ideas, suggesting scenes and waking me up at night to get it on paper before I miss the solution to a thorny plot problem.
To jump-start my creative energy, I write for ten minutes a day. It doesn’t matter what I write about, only that I write. I’ve written a short story that I’ve submitted to journals for consideration and I’ve written snippets of stories that I may or may not develop into books. The free writing, not editing what I write, but letting the words tumble onto the page, has been an adventure for me. I’ve discovered characters I didn’t know were there and settings I can see and touch even though they exist only in my mind.
I returned to the draft I’ve been working on of the second Caribou King Mystery and re-vamped the parts I realized weren’t working and were holding me back. I’ve let my daily writing explore possible twists and turns in this second book, some of which I suspect will end up making the final cut and others are already on the cutting room floor.
I’ve been writing stories since I was old enough to string sentences together. I wrote a play in fourth grade that was produced as our class play. I wrote short stories and newspaper articles all through junior high and high school and I won my first check for my writing as a senior. Then life swept in and writing became reports and press releases and carefully cited position papers. It wasn’t until I let my mind wander that I met Jake and Emma, Matt and Kristy, Caribou and her many friends in Coho Bay.
I still don’t make my living as a writer, but most writers don’t make a living from their writing, just as most artists have a day job to support their addiction to their creativity. I’m happy whenever someone buys one of my books and I’m over the moon when someone likes it enough to write a kind review. Then there are the readers who email me and tell me how much they enjoyed what I wrote. Those emails I save and whenever I think I can’t possibly be a writer, I pull them out and read them again.