Looking back on this year and forward to next, it feels like I’m on the brink of a whole new phase with my career as a writer. I love calling it that because I know I may never make a dime from writing, but it is still my primary vocation. Fortunately I have always hated the word “hobby” and would never use it for an artistic endeavor because I’ve always taken my work seriously, and I take writing more seriously all the time.
I’ve always liked writing but unfortunately I had a college professor my freshman year who told me my writing was terrible and insisted I have an English major tutor me in basic grammar. Even though her criticism may have been purely technical she made me feel I had no talent. Unfortunately I was so insecure I wasn’t willing to work hard at anything unless I was already good at it, which meant playing it safe and sticking to visual art, which I had a natural propensity for.
Fortunately art teachers are in the business of pushing their students to take risks and my work ended up spanning many media and disciplines over many years. Writing often found its way into my work and I gained confidence in my abilities over time. Fortunately landing my vocation in middle age turns out to be a good thing. Since I haven’t spent my life pursuing writing I bring a freshman’s optimism and willingness to the craft. And being almost fifty-two means I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.
Unfortunately, I’m not that young anymore. The passage of time is not negotiable and I probably don’t have enough years left to write all the books I’d like to. It’s just not that easy to learn how to write something complex and good.
It took a few years for me to feel really confident about what I’m doing and it’s taken even longer to get to that point with my book. At the beginning of 2015 I decided my goal was to find an agent, or at least someone who believed in my book enough to help me make it more palatable for the general public. I educated myself about the market and managed to find that person in a freelance editor. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with someone who is professional, knowledgeable and believes in the project. When I started, I had no idea how to write a novel and yet I was willing to take a stab. And many editors and readers later, I am finally in the hands of someone truly great, who is willing to lead me down that last stretch of road. I can’t wait to get started.