Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Begin My Journey

I always knew my strongest aptitude was in writing, with a distant second being music. In school and college, I rarely turned in anything other my my first draft. Teachers and professors encouraged me to submit my stories for publication, or pursue a writing-related career.

I didn't listen and life I settled for a steady paycheck to meet the ever growing mountain of responsibilities. I continued to write, but only very little, and never with any thoughts of submitting my work. I even tried a few online Creative Writing classes and quickly became bored.

About a year ago, while going through the hardest time in my life, I turned to writing as an escape. I penned 2 dark short stories and posted them on a free site, just to see what people thought.

I didn't keep track of them very well. When I checked back on the site, I was impressed to see they were read close to 40,000 times (between them) and had decent positive ratings (around 83%). The encouraging feedback started the wheels turning.

As is my way, I started researching the possibility of becoming "published." After more hours with Google than I'd care to admit, I stumbled on Forbidden Fiction. They were a start-up press looking for authors with a strong emphasis on quality work. As for preferred subject matter, the darker the better.

Of course, I'd browsed through many self-published works on Amazon. Most of them were filled with formatting and/or grammatical/spelling errors. Of the short stories I'd read, about 1 in 10 looked professionally written. Self-publishing, at least initially, wasn't very attractive.

I found FF's business model really interesting. Authors were required to maintain a blog to interact with readers and were encouraged to participate in the forums. Work would be available on the site, as well as through major retailers. Perhaps most importantly, they provided full editing and formatting support.  Nice!

But, did I really want to do this? Did I really want to become an erotica writer? What would my family and friends think, especially considering my taboo themes? What about my job?

I wrote the cover email and formatted one of my stories for submission. I was about to click "send," and hesitated. I saved the email to drafts and spent the next day, or so, mulling over the above questions.

My answer came slowly, but it did come. I finally realized this part of me, this darker side of my psyche, not only existed, but was as real as any other part of my personality. I realized most, if not all, of us struggle in some way with our alter-ego. If that part of me could be magically removed, the resulting being would no longer be me.

The question then became, "Do I continue this inner struggle, or do I embrace this part of me and allow it to flourish?" I knew I had a least some ability to write and had wasted it for most of my 45 years.

I sent the email the following day. Although I fully expected a swift rejection, I was enormously proud at having finally submitted. Within a few days, I received a reply. After such a short time, I was positive the news was bad. Still, I'd taken a huge step and almost looked forward to my first rejection.

The email was an acceptance and a contract was attached! I was amazed! An acceptance? On my first story? Wow! Maybe those teachers and profs did know what they were talking about!

As I was opening my cell to dial my family and friends with the great news, reality struck. I couldn't tell them! They'd freak! Here I was, on the verge of finally becoming a published author, and I couldn't shout it to the world. (Yes, I write under a pen-name; I have to, as do many erotica writers.)

I've started this blog not only to promote my work, but also to chronicle my journey as a writer. I love writing...creating...and detailing the movies I see in my head. I can't believe I ever stopped. It truly is an incredible feeling to watch the journey unfold.

I'd enjoy nothing more than being able to do this full-time. Yet, as we all know, life still happens, regardless of dreams.

As I write more stories, and hopefully get them published, I will update my progress. I don't know if I'll be able to fulfill this dream of writing prose for a living. So far, I've only taken a few steps. I hope readers will enjoy my stories, as well as my journey. Perhaps this blog will help give someone the courage to make their first submission, or pursue some unrelated goal.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading my blog, and my stories if you like. I'd love to know your thoughts, good or bad. Like all of us, encouragement always helps.

 Thanks for reading.


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