2+ years of fiction writing courses
10 + years writing / studying and learning craft
5 + years studying the publishing industry, learning how to write query / dreaded synopsis, and untold hours of studying agents / editors / houses, etc. etc. etc.
2 finished novels (one sucked so bad we’ll just call it education by stupidity and one hasn’t found an agent at this point, but still - lots of work)
3 + partially written novels, attempted and discarded between sucky book number 1 and completed book number 2
1 – Work In Progress, which has been written, completely scrapped, and started over from scratch
Untold number of online writing exercises, fiction writing classes, editing classes, and critique circles for to slash me to pieces and make me improve.
Untold number of bright and shiny ideas that have been partially plotted, character sketches, and miscellaneous files of work that may or may not be worth salvaging at some point in life.
Untold number of short story and flash fiction pieces, which I know is really not my forte but I have steadily been trying to get a handle on anyway because I feel that it will tighten my writing and improve my craft.
Rejections – don’t even get me started.
I should probably include reading on this list, but I almost feel bad including it because I’d be doing it whether or not I ever wanted to write... I love it... but then, I also love writing and I’ve included an awful lot of that on this list. I’d have to say about 30 years... but only about 20 of those since deciding I might like to write, and really 5 where I’ve been reading with a writer’s eye.
So there, as it stands to date, is my Fiction Writing Resume. It goes without saying that most of this has been squeezed in every crevice of time that wasn’t used for running my household, raising my children, volunteering my time, and producing the freelance writing that actually comes with a paycheck.
I know non-writers don’t really understand this whole thing. They don’t get that I’ve put in this time to improve and learn because I love this, without a paycheck, without any guarantee, without knowing for sure whether I’ll wind up at the end of years and years of hard work with nothing but failure to show for it. Hell, I’m doing it and sometimes I don’t fucking get it.
And, when you get down to it, I suppose I shouldn’t really care or bother with what anyone else thinks. But sometimes it takes a toll - all the people who’ve written me off as either lazy or stupid for not having a ‘real’ job. Every once in a while that gets really irritating. So, for the record:
I am not sitting around ‘playing’ on the computer.
I am not working for no pay because I’m incompetent.
Asking when I’m going to get a real job outside the house and pointing out that my children are old enough is not helpful. (Youngest is 7 – I don’t know what kennel raised you but I’m fairly sure my kids still need childcare of some sort)
This is not a hobby and even if it was, mine would be more productive than sitting at the bar, bowling for doughnuts, watching the ballgame, vegging in front of the TV, gambling the mortgage money, knitting, bingo, or Parcheesi... and far less expensive if you don’t count the ink cartridges.
Okay, fine, knitting might be more productive... I can’t make one myself, but I do enjoy a nice sweater.
Placating smiles and rolling your eyes behind my back are not appreciated (and yes, I can see you – pay attention to where the bar mirrors are, genius).
And for anyone guilty of any of the above mentioned behaviors, let this serve as notice: When my first novel hits the shelves, you are not allowed to say any variation of, “I knew you could do it,” or I will be forced to bitch slap you with said book - and you better hope to God it's not hardcover.
Okay, I’m done. Carry on.