…when I wrote and illustrated my first story in Kindergarten. I think I still have it somewhere. The only reason I remember it is because I drew the dragon rescuing the princess from a tower. Not my best work. From there, I wrote a LOT of papers for school–I’d rather write an essay any day of the week than take a waste-of-time standardized test. I was a shit test-taker. But give me a paper to write and I more-than-likely aced it. Art classes in high school and dance in college gave me a neat perspective on the way I look at the world around me too, as did minoring in Religion. All of my experiences throughout my life have led me to where I am today as a writer and editor, and I’m thankful for them.
I thought about writing for my university’s newspaper, but I was too dedicated to my sorority (Phi Mu) and too busy with homework to find the extra time to take it on. It might be one of my biggest regrets. I did, however, start journaling a lot during college. About everything and anything, mostly my relationships with different people. Writing was always the easiest way to express myself. It’s always been easier to write how I feel vs. saying it because organizing my thoughts is clearer on paper than in my head.
After college, 2012, is when I started my book review blog. Since then, I’ve re-written most of them (some are missing because I switched sites–why I did this I’ll never know). That’s when things took off. I started communicating with a variety of authors, reviewing books for them, chatting with them about their goals, careers, and finding out how they got to where they were. I’ve followed Hugh Howey since he released each portion of WOOL. I have the originals. I follow his blog, his process, his advice often. I was able to talk to David Forsythe about his writing process and pick his brain when I was working on my first WIP. I’ve on more than one occasion spoken to, encouraged, and written reviews in exchange for books from Lizzy Ford. This is when I knew I wanted to be an indie author and self publish. Who knew it was even possible? It was exciting. Then WOOL exploded, and Hugh continued to share the ways of his success. I was thrilled for him and for all the possibilities for myself and others. So, I continued my book reviews, made connections, blew up Twitter a few times and found my writing buddies #WitlingWriter and the supportive writing community.
My first WIP, a Paranormal Romance, was/is a flop. It’s a mess. I started it when I started my blog and didn’t really know what I was doing or how to organize my writing. I pantsed it and it failed. So, I took a break. A long break. I kept reading, kept talking with authors, kept doing reviews, kept writing, but shelved my WIP. It’s still collecting dust, nagging me and sad I’ve moved on to more successful WIPs. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it. This taught me what I should have already known…I’m a planner.
The discovery of Beta-Reading was the beginning of my editing career. I realized what I was actually doing was critiquing manuscripts–going far beyond the call of a regular alpha/beta. Why didn’t anyone tell me I could make a career out of this? I would have started doing it a long time ago. So, I started talking to editors. I took some tips and advice from the amazing Jeni Chapelle (@jenichappelle) to learn how to set up my business, and chatted with Ryan Campbell (@r.r.campbell) on many occasions since he was in the process of starting his own editing business as well. I offered free critiques and beta-reads for testimonies. And, finally, I started my editing business and got my first few paying clients. I was thrilled, and still am. Thrilled when an author sends me a request for an edit, thrilled when they send me their manuscript, thrilled when I finish my edits, and thrilled when they send me an awesome testimony or publish their book. Even more thrilled that I’m making a career out of it. I’m getting paid to read! My dream-come-true. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
As far as my own writing, I’m working on it. Editing takes a lot of my time now, and I love it. I also have two little buddies I take care of 24/7, so I’m a tired mommy. But last summer I was able to start and finish Zahra, my zombie fantasy, manuscript during Camp Nano. Now if I could only find the time to edit it. I’ve gotten through the first few chapters, had a few betas check it out for me, and revised a little. I’m ready to get back to it, but struggling to find the time. I published a barely edited, short-story on Wattpad you’ll have to hunt down to read. I’ve also started working on a Tinker Bell re-telling I know a few followers are waiting to beta-read, but this one is taking a little longer to finish than Zahra did. I’m not giving up though!
I’ve always loved reading and writing. I’m excited to see where it takes me next, who I’ll meet along the way, and I’m still determined to self-publish Zahra at some point. For now, I’m enjoying editing and supporting the writers and authors, who I’m honored to be able to assist. Thank you to all of you who have helped me get to where I am. I couldn’t have done it without you.