I suppose if you look at it purely on the surface, not much changed for me in 2015.
Was a published writer in 2014? Nope.
Did I become a published writer in 2015? Nope.
No matter where this writing journey takes me, I will remember 2015 as the year that I made the decision to Be a Writer. Doesn’t matter that I wrote and queried a (terrible, oh so terrible) novel about 10 years ago. Doesn’t matter that I’ve been working on the novel I’m currently querying on and off for about four years now. 2015 was the year that I dove in. The year I started Taking It Seriously.
And I owe it all to Angela James.
Back in the spring, I saw on Twitter that she was hosting a day-long presentation of her self-editing workshop, “Before You Hit Send,” for the Florida Romance Writers, the South Florida chapter of the RWA. Before I had time to think too hard about it, I had registered for the workshop and made plans to drive four hours to Fort Lauderdale on a Friday night, crash on a friend’s couch, attend the workshop, then drive home.
This was a huge step for me. I’m very much an introvert, much more at home making friends behind a computer screen than in real life. All of my writing had been done in a vacuum, at home and with friends I knew online. I’m not gonna lie, I may have hyperventilated a little bit before I stepped into this conference room:
and said, out loud and to other people, “I am a writer.”
I spent the next eight hours listening to Angela and taking furious and increasingly illegible notes on her handouts. By the end of the day I wanted to apologize to everyone I’d ever made read anything I had ever written. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take what I had learned and overhaul my novel, or if I should just set my laptop on fire and be done with it. The overhauling won.
But her workshop, and that whole weekend, flipped the switch inside. Being in a room full of people who were writers, in various forms and stages of publication, inspired me like nothing until now ever had.
(Side note, if you want to make your writing better, please please do yourself a favor and sign up for Before You Hit Send. Even if you think you have a good grasp on grammar and style, you will learn so much and will improve the hell out of your writing.)
Since then I’ve entered contests. I was featured in PitchSlam. I participated in Twitter pitch contests, and while none of the leads generated an offer, I met an incredible community of writer on Twitter to continue to encourage and inspire. I joined the RWA, and Central Florida RWA chapter, where I am slowly getting used to talking about writing out loud and in front of other people, like I belong or something. I started a blog, and got my writer-self going on Twitter. I finally feel like, after ten years of fits and starts, and “oh, I don’t have time to write, maybe next year,” I am A Writer.
So 2015 was the year I starting taking it seriously. Thanks, Angela, for the kick in the butt that got me going. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2016!