My Writer's Life: Rise and Fall & Rise Again!
That's pretty much the story of my life as a writer. Rise & Fall and Rise...
I knew I was a writer when I was four years old, and the need - yes, it's a need - never quite left me. My patient father had taught me to read and write when I was about three, but he didn't expect the course of those events. Like when my first essay was a challenge to my Sunday School teacher's insistence that God would send bad people to suffer in Hell. At four, I nearly became the youngest person to be thrown out of Sunday School in disgrace...
So, as time went by, I decided I was going to start my writing life working as a journalist. It seemed to fit, somehow. When I was about ten I wrote to one of the biggest daily newspapers in the UK, asking for a job. I must have pleaded my case quite well, because I got a letter back from a senior editor telling me I wrote well, but perhaps I should wait until I was about 18 and reapply...
But jobs were in short supply. I got out of school at 16, needing to make a living. I went to work for the National Health Service...and that didn't last long. Seems I had a bit of a problem questioning procedures I thought could be done more efficiently.
Ditto for the auto parts service I worked at for a while...until I finally irritated the managing editor of another newspaper by calling him every week to ask for a job.
"We don't really employ women," he told me.
Ooh, yes, that was like waving a red flag to a bull. Persistence ran high. I had a job with his newspaper within two months...and he hired more women after me.
I loved being a journalist, worked for a variety of big newspapers and will always look back fondly on the people I worked with and (most) of the people I interviewed.
But something was missing.
I realized I needed to write fiction (no snide remarks about newspapers, please!)
So I wrote my first & second books, contracted to a small company at the very birth of ebooks.
That company scammed its authors. All the signs were there, but I was an innocent in the cut throat world of publishing.
Still, on to another publisher...and another...until I finally reached one of the Big Five. Simon & Schuster.
I was soo very happy there...until they closed down the division that published my books - and those of about100 other authors. With less than a couple of hours notice.
Like I said, it's pretty cutthroat out there.
At the same time, I was undergoing treatment for stage three breast cancer.
Chemo fog had me in its grip. Couldn't think, couldn't write, didn't know what the future held.
Thought my writing days were over.
But apparently it wasn't so. The books that S & S abandoned were picked up by another successful publisher, and another great publisher took a couple of my other books.
I'm writing again, even though at times it's a struggle.
The up and down and up of a writer's career can really wear a person out.
But writing is like a virus in the blood - there's no cure.
You just keep on and on...
So, if you're a writer going through one of those down times, don't give up. Keep on writing!
Sure, you just put pen to paper, or open a computer file and start tapping away. Or, as a well known writer whose name slips my mind at the moment (happens a lot these days) said,"You just open up a vein."