Sunday, October 15, 2006

Readin', Writin' & Me, Part 5, Final

By the time I finished graduate school I had only submitted my two completed stories about four times and had no sales. But when I got to the Greater New Orleans area I continued to write stories while I settled in teaching at Xavier University of Louisiana. Then, in the fall of 1988, I decided to try seriously to write and publish. I even constructed a mission statement for myself in which I gave myself five years to get published and where I said that I’d work on something writing related every day.

I subscribed to Writer’s Digest, and I did indeed write almost every day, though often only for a half hour or so. I began submitting too, and started sending stuff to contests. In the spring of 1989 I got my first sale, for a horror story called “Still Life With Skulls,” to a magazine called Twisted. Within another week or two I had a second sale, a vampire story called “Messiah” to a magazine called Dead of Night. I was hooked then, and I date myself as a writer from that fall of 1988.

In the years since 1989, I’ve had a few successes and many disappointments. I once gave up writing for six months, but I couldn’t stay away from it and I guess I’ll never quit completely. I’m disappointed that I haven’t sold more things and haven’t had greater success, but I generally am proud of the work I’ve done. Most of my published stuff has been well received and I’ve seldom gotten any seriously negative criticism.

In the last three years I’ve been writing more and more nonfiction and less fiction, despite the fact that fiction is what I truly love. I think it’s for several reasons. One, nonfiction pays a lot better and I’ve been needing money. Second, I’ve also had a bunch of nonfiction projects fall into my lap. But despite that, I look forward to having more time in our new house to focus on fiction. I’m hoping that I won’t need money as badly with Lana working full-time, and that I can bring myself back around to writing the stuff I truly love. I want the feeling back that I had in those long ago days when I was scribbling wildly on Swords of Talera.

1 comment:

Sphinx Ink said...

I love your five-part series on how you became a writer. Like most aspiring writers, I'm very interested in learning about other writers' lives, work histories, and their writing processes. I think the most significant parts of your development as a writer are that you made an appointment with yourself to write every day, and that you have persisted in pursuing the dream. I'm working on those aspects of my own writerly development, so you inspire me to keep going.