…and now the real work starts.
I started writing for publication the fall of 1997. Back then I wrote religiously.
And after five years of rejections, I started fiddling around. I pretended to write. I wrote in spurts. I played at being a writer. But those rejections slayed my writing spirit. Another five years of rejections killed that spirit.
Honestly, even though I’d write a book a year–usually–, that book wasn’t heartfelt. It was almost fearful. I tried to write to the rules and to what I thought Harlequin would want because Harlequin was my dream.
Two and a half years ago (or maybe three) I put my thesis online. Honor and Lies was my heart. My professors loved it…which isn’t always a good thing. I mean, you don’t want an audience of professors to be your only fans.
But what did I have to lose? The book was sitting on my computer and in the MSU library. It was a tribute to my grandma, and I wanted to give it a chance to be shared by others.
A couple months later I published a couple romances and that was that. I figured I had a backlist of written works, I’d go through them and post them and whatever happened, happened.
Only I started The Artist’s Way with colleague Scotty Coppage and I started working again. It was bits and spurts at first.
The first book I wrote to self-publish was Dead Girl Walking, the first of the Sharlene Gallagher guardian angel mysteries. And since then I’ve written everything to self-publish.
Last summer I came up with a business plan and a publishing schedule. And my arm quit working.
If you know me in real life or kept up with the blog, you know I mean it quit working completely.
For a month I cried because all my plans were flowing away with every day the arm got worse. Not only that, but with each non-writing day I saw myself growing closer to the “writer” Mary Beth. The girl who wrote some, when the muse hit, when she wanted to, instead of the committed writer, working on her craft.
Right before NANO one of my former students Emma found out about my arm and suggested the Dragon software.
In two weeks I wrote an novella using spiral notebooks and dictating to Dragon. The arm wasn’t an excuse. Since then I’ve worked on novels and novellas. I haven’t worried about the business side. I embraced the creative side and the excitement of creating characters and worlds and conflicts.
I’m not writing for anyone but me.
And I’m loving every minute of it.
Suddenly I’m not okay publishing the books I’ve got lined up on my computer as possibilities just because they’re done. I’ll go over them later. I want them to be the very best they can be. Sexy, scary, heartfelt…whatever it is they’re supposed to be, I want them to be that times a ten million.
Self-publishing gave me this even though I haven’t published a word since August 25.
I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words since then. I re-discovered my voice, my art.
And I’ve learned to trust in my creative soul. To pray first then write and let the words work.
I’m not ready to publish the books I’ve written since August 25. They’re all in different stages of the revision or editing process, but I will be soon.
For now, I’m happy that I’m writing and creating and loving it and hating it and working the craft.
It’s so funny to think that because of self-publishing I’m writing more–and better, I think–even though I’m not publishing a word.