When I first learned how to write and had to practice spelling and grammar, I was encouraged to do so in the form of fiction. In first grade, I wrote four sentence stories. In third grade, when we were learning how to type, they became four page stories, and I enjoyed how quickly I could crank out these little short stories. Unfortunately, that was only at school. The family computer was shared, and my writing was private, so I only used it for video games. It’s normal for an eight year old girl to play DOOM, right?
Anyway, few summers later, I decided to try and write out a story. I managed a few pages before I realized that handwriting was not for me, which meant I had to wait until I had a computer of my own. This happened in high school. I was lucky enough to attend the same high school my mom went to, which Melinda Gates also attended. Since her life had been enriched by technology, she shared that with the girls at Ursuline Academy in the form of laptops for incoming freshman. I may or may not have had a SNES emulator on mine, too.
This led me on a path of churning out gradually longer stories throughout high school. As I learned to craft the world I saw in my head on paper, I created novels. I was too shy to show them to anyone besides a few close friends. After all, they were silly stories about love and high school. I wanted to take creative writing senior year, but the more practical side of me had me take computer programming. When college came, I needed a major. My parents couldn’t really afford college, so, when the engineering school offered me a nice scholarship, I picked computer science and never looked back. However, I didn’t give up my writing. I hid in the library between classes, feverishly typing. I read as much as I could to learn about capturing emotions and generating the love I felt for my characters in my readers.
Of course, no one actually read my novels. I didn’t believe that I was good enough. While my writing matured, I started to wonder how people were published. I looked into a few times, realizing it was going to take more work than writing the novels had. Unfortunately, I knew no one in the business. Everyone I knew was a programmer. So, my hobby stayed my hobby.
Then I turned twenty-nine. As thirty rapidly approached, I began to panic. I expected that somehow through magic only found in Disney movies, I would meet someone who would publish my books and turn them into blockbuster movies. Crazy, yes, but there’s no point in dreaming small. I’d been writing for almost fifteen years and had nothing to show for it. So, I checked out self-publishing. I reviewed the novels I’d written and selected one about Steampunk (it’s so hot right now) and had people edit. This took about a year, along with creating a cover and copyrighting.
And I found myself frozen. I stalled. I delayed. All I had to do was hit the button, but I couldn’t do it. What if no one read it? Worse, what if they read it and hated it? What if it was all a waste? My decades of writing a pointless hobby? The negativity surrounded me, and I dragged my feet. I would publish over Thanksgiving break. Then Christmas break. Then I had enough. I was either going to do this now or never.
So, I did it. I self-published a novel I wrote some three years ago. It was terrifying and exciting. I have no idea if it’s going to lead anywhere, but at least I’ve tried. I put my work out there. I still have work to do. I need to spread the word and get publicity around it somehow. Drum up interest. Regardless, I’m proud of myself. I’ve taken a solid step towards my dreams.