Five years ago today I became a published author with the publication of The Weaver.
I suppose technically I was published before that with several short story publications to my name, but my goal was to have a book published, and that goal was realized on December 10, 2010.
I still chuckle at how anti-climactic the moment was. I found The Weaver available on Amazon. I lifted my laptop and spun it in all directions to show off the Amazon page to my family. Then the oven timer beeped and I got up and finished cooking dinner. Yeah, being a published author is just that sexy.
But I’ve had many amazing moments too. The Weaver was a finalist in a couple award contests I entered it in. It received (still receives—bless all you reviewers out there) really positive reviews. And it opened the door for me to step into classrooms. One of my favorite things to do as an author is to be able to visit with readers. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you walk into a room and hear a child whisper reverently, “The author is here!”
Writing has helped me to step outside my mundane life. In order to write believable characters in believable situations, I’ve visited teen transitional housing, received valuable input on anxiety disorders and dealing with suicide, and planned an entire camping trip to research ghost towns.
Five years later I have a dozen published titles and I’ve got the next two in the works. However, I’ve had a rough writing year, battling something more than writer’s block, more like writer’s incentive. For me the act of writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the value of the time put into it. I love to write, but I also want my time to count. Especially for my family. And this year I struggled to define that value. As much as I love school visits, blog visits, Facebook, Twitter, etc, it is time taken from my family life and if in the end it holds little value beyond making me feel good (in other words, doesn't sell more books), then I need to fill that time with more constructive pursuits, like working at a job outside the home. It's important to me to feel I'm contributing, not just leaching from the family dynamic.
I believe I’ve finally found a better balance of the time I put into my writing career and the value I get out of it. Because of that, my mind is free to create again and I can move into the next five years of my writing career with a better idea of the pace I want to set for myself.
If you’re still reading this post, thank you. Really the reason I’m sharing this is for you to know that the authors behind the books you read are real people investing valuable time and self into creating entertainment. In the five years since my first publication my daughter has graduated from college, my son joined the Navy, I lost my mother, my sister started her battle with cancer. Life. Life has happened. All authors experience life while creating new ones for you to enjoy. So when you do enjoy the work they do, take a moment to tell them with a review, a note on their Facebook page, recommending or gifting their book to a friend. Your single message might truly be the value the author needs to invest more time into writing another book.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have given your attention to my work. I look forward to an ongoing relationship filled with fantasy or grit, raw emotion or joy, and all the stories I can make up for you. Thank you for letting me do this with you.