The journey I have embarked on to get my work to the public has been interesting, frustrating and tiring. Despite my frustration over not having enough time to progress at the speed I would like, I am quite happy I have decided after all these years to do this.
My secret to keeping things straight with everything else going on in my life, record keeping for A&J Towing (necessary to help keep the business going, people paid and businesses billed), courier work to Kentucky every day (this is where I contribute bringing money in), household chores (because unfortunately they don’t do themselves), is lists. Nothing is quite as irritating as opening my computer, ready to create when CRAP! something else more pressing has just made itself known. Something I have learned trying to write through the years is everything is more pressing. I can’t put what I was going to write on a list, that would be called writing. But I can write down the contests I’ve researched, what website I need to submit to next, what kind of blog I need to write, how many books I need ordered, what I need to do with those books when I get them, the lists go on an on. Which is why they are so important.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made lists before; To Do lists, Grocery lists, Bills to be Paid, etc. But the lists I am making now I regret to say sit in a notebook, waiting for time to appear. But it is a huge time saver because I now do not spend time making my brain smoke because I can’t remember what I was supposed to do with the book I’m holding in my hand. Because sometimes people, I am very forgetful. Like when you have a drink in your hand (worse is when its non-alcoholic) you sit it down and you wonder around the house a few minutes later thinking, where did I put it. Without a list, I would spend countless hours in a loop, re-researching, re-organizing, re-submitting, re-reading, re-thinking.
I know, lists are covered in the first chapter of Organization 101 (if there is such a book or course out there, I am just guessing). My point is lists are basic, but very powerful.
In the beginning there was pen and paper. Well, not a pen. It would have been a pencil. I had an older brother so I’m sure my parents knew better.
So, let’s begin again.
In the beginning there was pencil, paper and an idea. I don’t know what the idea was, I was just a kid. I’m betting it probably wasn’t a very good one, or one that made very little sense. When I first developed a love for writing I was into books like The Black Stallion, Wild Dog, and Max: Dog on the Run. So, understandably, the first stories I wrote were animal related.
I had papers everywhere. Notebooks upon notebooks. Loose papers filled with my scribblings. It was a real fire hazard.
When my parents divorced my mother rid us of much of those stories. A few years later my stepmother cleaned out from under my bed where I kept them stashed. I thought they were organized. Once she placed them in the box, I realized I knew nothing of organization, because that was a colossal mess.
In between my mother throwing out and the step mother putting in a box, roughly 15-18, I was sitting at a laundry mat with my dad and asked him if he wanted to read the book I just finished. It was my first. He read a little, his big question was if I could use words like that in a book. It started with some foul language I never considered I would be sharing with my dad. I don’t think he read much, but he asked if it was typed would I be able to do something with it. At that time, I could not type, and if I could, I had nothing to type it on. I said yes, indeed I could. So, he gave it to my sister-in-law to type. I never saw it again.
It was the first story I had written that did not center around an animal. Whether it was good or not we’ll never know. I am guessing maybe not. I won’t go into detail here, you never know, it may be reinvented. But probably not. Anyway. Around that time, I got an address for a book publisher and wrote them a little letter. They were polite enough to reply. They were merely a reprint house but gave me the name and address of another publisher. Alas, I had nothing to submit.
Soon after I began to focus on a journalism career. I still wrote fiction. I have never been able to shed that, which by this time, had become like an addiction. Not a heroin addiction, but I do get crabby if I have something in my head waiting to be written and I can’t find the time to get it on paper. Well, in this day and time in my computer. But I still enjoy the old-fashioned way. Often it flows better that way.
In the attic of my garage I still have at least one box of those scribblings. I look forward to the day I might take it down and look through them and see what crazy ideas I once had. I’m sure they fit right in with the crazy ideas I have to this day.