Being an Indie author is not what I expected. It has been a long torturous journey to reach this stage of my writing life. For any who have walked these roads before, I feel your pain.
When I was young, I had visions of writing the next Gone With The Wind. In fact my first novel was a Civil War Romance. By the time I got into college, I had a few life altering experiences and thought the book was trash (too erotic). It found its way to the dumpster. Today I regret that action, not that the book was any good, but I would liked to have reviewed my writing style.
Switching to poetry, my life continued. Real life has a way of getting in the way of the part-time writer. Jobs, marriage, children, all tend to eat up your free time. Sure there were burst of desire to fill pages with words, but they were fewer and farther between. Looking forward to the empty nest came and past. Sure words came out, but not enough to fill a book, not even short stories. I had the kernel of the book in my mind. I knew what I was going to write. I would write ten, even twenty pages before life dragged me back into its claws demanding real world actions. Time would pass before I would come across the hand written pages and vow to finish it. Sadly my first task was to read it so I could remember where I was in the story. This invariably lead to a rewrite of that section. Final the age of computers came into my life. I imputed my story into the spider web of electronics. Several attempts in that manner got no further.
Last December, I found my story once more. The tattered piece of writing was just laying there like a forgotten rag on the side of the road. I still had the story all mapped out in my mind, but there was so little of it on the screen. With a renewed vow to complete it, I began to shut out reality. I kept a running log of how many words I wrote each and every day. Yes every day. I vowed to write every day until it was done. No pausing to rewrite. Just put one word on the screen after another. It didn’t matter how good it was, it just had to reach the finish line. It was not the great American Novel. It was a mere seventy thousand words. After over twenty years of struggle to put it together, the first draft was done.
Wondering what to do next, I did the normal read through to look for the obvious errors. Oh my God, it was a minefield of typos, misused words and just bad writing. Spell check only goes so far. It does not tell you about the “right” word when you used “write” instead. Proud of my finished work, I read blogs on how to submit my work. Agents, publishing houses all had different critique to submit. Formatting my novel into a half dozen versions, I began the task of begging someone to read it. As any newbie knows, that is a near impossible quest.
All was not lost, my mind had been ignited with the juices that fuel writers. The sequel to the first novel flowed from me faster than the first. The words spilled out day and night. I had two novels. Neither was in a finished form, but I had two completed. Even a third novel began to flow outward, then it hit. Writer’s block. I had lost the flow. My vow to keep writing everyday would not be broken. An idea rolled around in my mind. On a whim, I started to write the story. It was nothing I planned, just a quickie to keep my juices flowing.
It was nothing like my novels. I had written an erotic short story. It was a fun write. Nothing I would do anything with, just a fun piece to keep my mind working. It did what I hoped it would do. I thought of a new story. A new novel. Like the second, the story began to write itself. The characters began to tell me what to write. I was less than half way though the story when I lost control of the book. My end goal was lost as the characters took on a life of their own.
I had three novels sitting on my computer, all requiring rewrite and proofreading, but the mind would not stop pumping out story lines. One short story lead to another. Most were not connected. Until one day I was just writing one story about my heroine, Gail Gilmore when I realized all the stories should be tied together. It took time to find the connections but I had a fourth novel. The sequel demanded that I write it as well.
There I sat with five novels and several short stories. How to get them out so people could read them? Like any other novice writer, my in-box was full of rejections. I looked thought my works for the one that was most ready for publication, in my opinion. The one I chose was not my best, nor my favorite. It was the one most ready for that next step. Months of reading about publishing, coupled with the rejections convinced me that the only way to see any of my works “in print” could only be done through self-publishing of e-books.
Tentatively I polished a few short stories to learn the tools that were needed. My goal was to provide free stories to get my name out. To my dismay, Amazon required that I put a price on them. That was defeating my hope of putting my name in the market place, but I did as demanded. To my amazement, someone bought one. Wow, what a rush. I was not planning on making money, even the few cents profit, it was just that someone cared enough to spend money for something I wrote.
More short stories followed before my first novel appeared online thanks to a great friend who has acted as my editor to keep me on track. The first copy of the novel to sell was another thrill. Now each weekend, I put at least one short story on line for free to let new people read my style.
The journey while short in real time, less than a year has been a lifetime struggle. Any day I do not write at least a thousand words, I feel I have wasted the day. I know I need to rewrite. I need to proof read. I need to expand my mind by reading others, but I feel a day is lost unless I write something new, even if it is just words in a blog.
With another novel in the final stages of proof reading, I hope to have it on line soon, but even as I work on it, I am deep into the story of my seventh novel. The problem with writing a new novel, for me at least, is I fall in love with the characters. They are not mere words, they are real. I see them during the day. Many nights they inhabit my dreams. Something happens in real life and I can’t help but think of a character doing something similar in my story. They devour my every thought. Sometimes I get upset with real life for interfering with my interaction with them
Sorry to bend your ear for so long. Just the ramblings of an Indie writer struggling to let the world hear my voice.