I have pondered being a published author since I was 7 years old, when I wrote my first book, The Littlest Grape. It was written on the paper from a 3 x 5 pad, and the cover was the cardboard from the back of the pad. The illustration were done in colored pencil, and after I stapled the cover to the pages, I brought it everywhere and showed it to everyone I knew. I thought it was the best book in existence, and could not even begin to fathom the leap from cardboard and staples to the seemingly magical and unattainable place on the bookstore shelves.
The Littlest Grape was followed by endless writing. I loved the hit-and-run quality of poems, and one very popular (in my mind) poem I wrote was Waterbed, warning of a baby/waterbed combination. I also wrote songs. Young Dr. Kildare, a soon-to-be chart topper, was as good as any Partridge Family tune. I thought the flip side of that particular 45 would be another big hit, Veins in My Thumbs. And I continued writing books. The Haunted House came with a warning on every page cautioning the reader of the terror he would soon experience.
I kept a diary/account of everything that happened in school and what I thought of everyone in my class in my desk in a maroon pad with a smiley face on the cover. It was discovered and passed around one day when I was absent, and some of the kids were not too pleased about what I had written. Though some of the attention was negative, I loved that people noticed and talked about the diary.
Life takes us many places. We experience many things. Some fall away, and some things stick with us. Writing stuck.
I finally decided I would write as a vocation, and the process suddenly could not happen fast enough. It was thrilling to publish my first book--but I compared myself to others I knew. They had several books, and many reviews, and more titles in the works. They had 75 million Twitter followers and just as many reading their blog. I felt I was behind! I had to catch up! I had to write more and friend more people and Tweet everyone about everything and...
...then I realized something. I can't catch up to everyone who has been doing this for a while. It will take a long time to get followers and friends in this business and I will have to earn them. But the urgency came from a good place...I am finally doing the thing I should have been doing all along. So--I took a deep breath, calmed down a bit, and let myself feel happy about everything that was going on. I'll listen to the words of a great writer, Stephen King:
"You have to read a lot, and you have to write a lot. There are no shortcuts."
I'm still thrilled about my books and writing, but I'm not going to rush or compare myself to anyone. I will take my competitive nature and use it to improve my writing. I still can't wait to finish my next book...
Also want to mention two books I am reading and enjoying. Cloud Nice is by Melissa Smith. It is about a self-sufficient teen-aged girl who gets a very special guardian angel, and Underneath, by Heather Adkins, which is about an empathic woman whose new job takes her to deep, dark, terrible places. I will be reviewing these books as soon as I am done reading them. So far so great.
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