I wrote as a hobby for years. Life threw a lot at me, and those parts of my life took priority. Work, relationships, raising my son, helping other people get back on their feet, all of which were noble pursuits were my focus. I adulted, and in the process stifled my creativity by ‘finding time’ here or there to write.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that it was safer for me to ignore the pursuit of full time writing. I couldn’t be judged or critiqued if no one outside my small circle of friends and family ever saw my work. They weren’t writers. They wouldn’t have told me (or known) how much work I had to do to write better.
So what I wanted to write stayed in notebooks. Stories and characters stayed safely tucked away from eyes that could have warned me of the learning curve I had ahead. Eyes that could have told me of the potential I had (still have). I got close to submitting a few times, but nothing came of it and I remained a hobbyist.
A couple of years ago that all changed. I got serious about learning to write for publication, dusted off those notebooks, and made a dedicated effort. Turned out I knew little to nothing about publishing, and writing fiction. More than a few times I thought I’d gone as far as I could. I thought maybe my stories, characters, and settings might never see the light of day. Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m stubborn. I persisted.
I managed a nightclub in the small Iowa town where I live. The bar was only open three nights a week, and I wrote a bit on the other four nights. Then the owner of the bar sold the building, and we closed down. That was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Not only did I focus on writing full time, I believed in myself and my work.
Writing is still my focus, I’m still learning to write better (I hope I always find ways to improve my craft). I have other writer’s eyes on everything I produce. Feedback directs my revisions of the words I put on the page. The best part though, is that I’m finishing what I started, and improving what I’ve finished. It’s been a long road for me, but I couldn’t be more excited about where I am and the possibilities ahead of me!