I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in junior high. Technically, by then I already was a writer, since I was already writing short stories and fan fiction. I’d even started a novel, something about werewolves and vampires with oodles of lesbian subtext, although I eventually abandoned it.
I lied, usually, about the sorts of things I wanted to write. Science fiction, horror, and mystery were what I often said, because I thought they sounded more respectable than the truth, which was that I liked writing romance and sex. (Yes, even in junior high.)
To say that I got no encouragement from my friends and family to pursue writing would be an understatement. They told me that everyone wants to be a writer, that almost no one succeeds, that it would be best to write as a hobby and pursue something else as a career.
When I applied to creative writing MFA programs after finishing my undergrad, my sister (always well-intentioned but often overbearing) flew into a panic for my future. There were a lot of “I know you want to do this and you think you can, but…” conversations. Then when I was accepted (one of four out of an applicant pool of nearly 300), she was dumbfounded. “Wow,” I remember her saying, “that’s… that’s really good. Wow.”
Still, I think I internalized their doubts. I wrote but never sent anything out. I stopped thinking about being published and turned my attention to writing and editing marketing copy. Writing creatively was a hobby, nothing I’d ever publish or make money on.
This year I responded to calls for submission for the first time ever, entirely on a whim. Now I’m being published in three anthologies that will be released in 2016: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 (January 12); Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year 20th Anniversary Edition (February 9); and Girls on Campus (May 17).
The upcoming publications have given me back the confidence, drive, and ambition I used to have. Today I opened a document of prewriting for a novel, long buried in my Google Docs files. My resolution for 2016 will be to finish a first draft.
It’s still a long way from being the sort of author I used to dream of, but it’s a start. ♥