I’ve had several turning points in my writing career. The first one was when I decided to stop writing just for my own amusement and submit what I’d written to editors and agents in the hopes of getting published. That was huge for me. My stories entertain me. They make me feel good. I truly enjoy them. By submitting them to others, I was letting people judge me and my writing. Until that time, I’d never let anyone read anything I’d written, not even my husband.
The second turning point came when I found a critique partner. Not only was I letting someone else read what I’d written, I was letting them make constructive suggestions about how to better my writing. It’s not that I think I’m so wonderful that I can’t benefit from someone else’s suggestions. I’m not and I can. It’s just that I was creating a new process; I was taking my writing seriously enough to actively try to make it better.
The third turning point occurred when my publisher accepted my manuscript and I told my parents. Until that time, they had no idea I wrote. Now, not only was their “baby” a published writer, but they could talk to me about it, read my book (OMG) and ask me questions. They could tell their friends, and I had to learn to answer without blushing—something I’m still not good at doing. Additionally, they now ask me what I’m working on currently, and I can’t exactly say “Nothing.”
I think that’s the hardest part about the turning points in my writing career. Writing is a solitary process, and perfect for introverts like me. Learning to talk openly about it, to discuss it with others and to compare notes, is something I’m still adjusting to doing. In the past, the only pressure I’ve felt with my writing was created by me. Now, if other people know I’m writing something, they ask me about it—what is it, how far I’ve gotten, whether I’ve submitted it, what I’ve heard. I’m thrilled with the interest; don’t get me wrong. I’m just not accustomed to other people’s timelines. I’m still learning to balance interest from others with pressure to get another story published, even if that pressure is created in my head.
It’s a learning experience, and a good one. One that I hope to achieve!