Six Years Ago

Six years ago, almost to the day, I signed up for my first writing class. I had graduated college a few months before, had a new place and a new job. Suddenly, my evenings were homework free, I knew no one in my new neighborhood, and I was bored. I’d always loved stories and I always wanted to create my own. So, I signed up for a short story class at the local night school.

I still have friends from that class. I’m still apologizing for those first few terrible, terrible stories I inflicted on them. And it was the first of many classes I would take, slowly forcing me to get more adventurous and more comfortable with driving on all sorts of roads in all sorts of conditions. Most of the classes weren’t particularly profound, but they gave me a deadline and a captive audience to try different stories techniques on, as well as an opportunity to get to meet other writers in the area. I had no idea what I was doing and I sort of just tried.

Actually, I still have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m getting better at pretending I do.

Six years later, I am officially a ‘pro’ writer, with seven SFWA qualifying sales to my name – the most recent being a sale to one of my favorite markets Beneath Ceaseless Skies (!!!). I now have a fabulous and talented circle of friends locally and in half a dozen different time zones. I’m part of some great critique groups and beta read for a lot of amazing writers. I’ve worked for a few magazines, slush reading and interviewing authors. I’ve gotten fan mail and fan art.

Yet, part of me hoped I would be further along in my writing career by now. There are still so many goals that I haven’t met yet and I’ve had so many failures. My storytelling ability is nowhere near where I want it to be and I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t ask myself “Why am I doing this?”

But I also know now that if there’s one thing that writing takes, it’s time.

Six years ago, I didn’t know how fun, gratifying, frustrating, and miserable writing is, sometimes all at the same time. It’s nothing short of a roller coaster ride and an exercise in determination and patience.

I won’t lie, today has been a particularly rough day for me in terms of writing (rejections still sting more than I like and my stories are all stubborn things). But even now, looking back, do I regret signing up for that first, overpriced class?

No. No, I really don’t.