All of this. Every part of it. Me writing this. You being here, reading it. My debut on its way to being on the shelf. This website even being in existence. This is the dream I’ve held, so close now to coming to fruition, and it all started with being prompted by another.
I was a kid. Maybe in middle school, maybe younger, I’m not sure. But I can still remember the scene as vividly as the night it coursed through my mind. An armor-clad woman, resplendent in her ferocity, kicks a wooden door open and rushes into a room. Her sword is raised and ready for all that she will encounter, her long blonde hair trailing behind her from underneath her helmet. Inside, she faces off against another woman. Her one time friend, dark hair spilling down the woman’s shoulders in stark contrast to her own golden strands.
On the ground between them kneels her Captain. Her lover. Her best friend. Wounded, blood soaking into the top of his turned down boot, he looks to her. His sweat-covered face conveys the confidence in her, while his eyes betray the fear of watching her fail as he did.
The blonde woman looks from him to her adversary. The raven-haired woman stares back, a devious smirk ticking up one corner of her mouth. They rush toward one another…
I told my Mom about the dream the next morning, my incoherent, excited ramblings distracting her while she was trying to finish getting ready for work. It was at her suggestion that I should write it down, and so I did. Over the course of a few years, well into high school, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.
Somewhere over 300 pages later (I didn’t know that you counted by words back then) I knew I had it. My first ever manuscript. It was in that moment, holding that finished product in my hand, freshly printed out from Staples, that one dream melded into another.
How amazing would it be if this manuscript became published? Imagine seeing whole worlds, characters, stories, that I had woven together on a bookshelf waiting for someone to pick it up and read. To see what I see. To be transported to where I had ventured, and experience what I had felt.
And so, one dream having birthed another, I set off to make it come true. Yet at this point a nexus occurred, whereby the mantras drilled into me by my high school wrestling coach gained a firm foothold. One that would propel me to where I am today.
Dreams are only achieved when you put in the work to accomplish them.
And I was never one to be outworked. I kept writing. Kept reading. I created another world filled with might and magic. Then a paranormal fiction story came to me. Next it was the Vikings, and I knew that I had to put some of their legends into historical fiction of my own. I wrote whatever came into my mind. A robot rebellion against humanity set in deep space. A kung-fu comedy set around a college basketball team and their cheerleaders. I composed poems out of lines from Schwarzenegger movies. Wrote “mission files” for imaginary espionage characters. I even did a police procedural where a private eye investigates the murder of Barney. (Kids, ask your parents. Parents, Baby Bop did it.)
The work continued. In 2014 I decided I had enough chops to make a go of being published professionally. The, “From the Archives” section of this site is the collection of short stories I posted on my first WordPress site in an attempt to build a fan base. A lot aren’t the best, I seemingly didn’t know what editing was back then, but they are still stories that I’m proud of. Each one represents another step on this journey. Eventually the numbers dwindled on the site as I found myself working more and more on full length novels.
I won’t bore you with the query and rejection phase of my tale, as it is so much like all the other authors that have been as fortunate as I have. What I will say is this. All of this, this long-winded first blog post, is simply to say what so many mentors have shared with me along the way:
We all start somewhere.
What matters is the work that you put in. The diligence and discipline you devote to your craft, whether it be writing or painting, high jump or glass blowing. The process is the same. Know your dream. See it as clearly and as precisely as you can imagine it. Then chase that dream with every fiber of your person. Be relentless. Learn. Talk. Take advice. Lean on the teachings and guidance of others that have paved the way before you. But most of all, stay true to yourself. Stay true to your dream, and one day, when you least expect it, yours will come true also.
Now…get back to work.
P.S. – if your immediate reaction after reading the title of this post was to spout, “I used to read Word-Up magazine” you’re my kind of people.