I have been painting and drawing for about twenty years. I have experimented with different mediums but overall, have always considered myself a creative-minded person. I guess since I’ve been paid to do these things, I’ve earned the title of creative professional. I have recently added writer to my creative resume and am in the process of publishing my first novel. I have always loved to read. Books and poems have always been like rubrics for my imagination; a way to take words from a page and create images on a canvas in my mind. A character can be described in painstaking detail by its author but will still have to pass through the reader’s filter. So Baz Lurman saw Gatsby as Leonardo DiCaprio; to me, I always imagine him as Matt Damon. Anyway…I digress.
I am a writer. I am a mom and a wife. I am an artist. The plate is getting a little full but writing my first novel has been the scariest and most rewarding thing I have done, career-wise. (Being a parent trumps everything!) I left the safety and security of the known (otherwise known as Texas) and travelled to the wilds of London to study art. Ultimately what came of it was some serious confidence issues regarding my painting abilities and a nearly finished novel. What a muse she was, that beautiful, old, stinky city. I wish that we were allowed to believe in magic and not look like a nut because London has it in spades. Each walk, trip to a new part of the city or train ride to parts unknown lit some creative spark that I have yet to find anywhere else in the world. I’ve been wondering, as I begin to navigate the dark waters of publishing, what will become of the 205 pages I crafted from love, defeat, fear, hope and a menagerie of other life experiences in my 38 years on this planet (give or take a few days in college where I thought I was on another one).
I’ve encountered another stark reality, there’s not a whole hell of a lot of support out there. There are creative writing centers, YouTube videos on being a creative writer, blogs on the ABC’s of publishing, etc…etc…etc… BUT when it comes to the dollars…radio silence. It’s a dilemma I face: following the traditional route (ie- sending manuscripts to every publishing house I can find an address for and pray to the gods, light some candles and hope to make it out alive), edit myself-promote myself-format the novel myself- try the eBook thing… well, being myself and giving the world the benefit of the doubt, I have tried Kickstarter (which I have affectionately renamed “Kickmyasser”). It has failed miserably, almost to point of embarrassment. Life lesson learned at this moment: It’s all on me. The world is not designed to make success easy to achieve. Human nature is not as nurturing, especially to us creative folk or small business owners, as it needs to be. But hey, JK Rowling did it on her own. I’m running on a cocktail of hope and broken dreams but I am fairly certain that when I see those pretty paperbacks with my name on them in the windows of bookstores, it will be a sweet feeling. When I see teenagers reading, imagining and enjoying my stories, it with be amazing.