I date my wanting-to-be-a-writer revelation to 1977 when I was in seventh grade. If memory serves (and it may not) that was the year I had a writing assignment on what I wanted to be. I wrote two papers, actually, one on being a veterinarian and one on being a writer. This was because, being a writer-type, I was already heavily neurotic and/or without esteem and just couldn’t bring myself to get up in front of my classmates and say I wanted to be a writer. I read my paper on being a vet. But I knew I was lying. Of course, that’s what being a writer is all about . . . making stuff up.
I started submitting stories that year. Everything I wrote got submitted. Those early, didn’t know what I was doing, outlandishly plotted, cliché-ridden stories all went out. And all came back. I kept at it. In 1987, following graduating from college during which I actually learned how to write, I scored my first professional publication. It had taken ten years, but I said to myself, well, got that first sale, that’s the hard one, now things are going to get easy. I’ll pause a moment to let the laughter die down.
I was back to the submission/rejection routine again. Had a smattering of poems and short stories published over the next several years, but it was 1996 before I got a substantial pay check again. And it was still pretty small. I struggled on. In the late 1990s I’d been at the writing thing for twenty years without much to show for it. I decided to take a break from submitting. I still dabbled in writing, but skipped being rejected. But I did keep writing one Star Trek story a year for the Strange New Worlds contest, which finally paid off in 2004. It had taken nearly thirty years, but I said to myself, well, got that first national sale with a major publisher, that’s the hard one, now things are going to get easy. I’ll pause a moment to let the laughter die down.
Had a second Strange New Worlds story in 2006. That time it had taken only two years between good bits. I said to myself . . . well, you get the picture. Got a third Star Trek story published in 2007. Okay, just one year. Got into a couple small press anthologies, started writing for Star Trek Magazine, things were picking up. Then it took until 2010 to get my first novella published, a three-year gap. Not that I wasn’t excited, and not that I don’t recognize that a lot of writers don’t get that far. But, still, thirty-three years from revelation to novel. I really need to pick up the pace. It would be nice to publish a full-length original novel while I’m still capable of holding up the book and reading it myself.
Started writing a story for a small press anthology the other day, and got a new idea for an urban fantasy novel last week. Time to get cracking!