Writing Saved My Life.
I’m what you would consider the polar opposite of Hunter S. Thompson or Ernest Hemingway in the sense that writing doesn’t summons my demons but rather it helped to deliver me from them. Writing words that have the power to capture people didn’t come naturally to me, it took years of hard work.
I began writing when I was in my early twenties. In hindsight most of what I wrote was bad to mediocre poetry. I didn’t make a dime off of it but it was a kind of therapy to help heal me from years of anxiety and depression. Writing allowed me to express bottled up feelings and emotions privately in the comfort of my own space, in my own time. I wrote every single day.
It was at some point in my mid twenties that I decided that I was going to attempt to write for a living. I had no idea how to go about this. Honestly, this has been a blessing and at times a curse. This road hasn't been an easy one. I’ve worked a day job for the last twenty years while building my writing career. I’ve watched nearly all of my peers at my day job pass me on the ladder of success. During my moments of waning hope I would sometimes feel like I’ve wasted the best years of my life pursuing a pipe dream.
I’m lucky in the fact that the strongest trait in my family’s bloodline is tenacity. So through it all I kept the faith and continued to do what my ancestors have always done. I worked, I honed, I soaked up all the knowledge I could while I waited for my moment to arrive. When I was younger I really believed that success would come all at once some day when a publisher or someone in the business would “discover me” and my life would be forever changed. I realize now this isn’t how it happens for most of us.
One day, shortly after I published my novel in 2013, I woke up. I realized that a writing career isn’t a destination as much as it is a lifelong journey. Ever since I had this epiphany I’ve viewed writing to be the great blessing that it is. In life no one can hand you your dream, you must to seize it on your own. When I realized this everything changed.
In these last few years I’ve been lucky enough to connect with so many wonderful and interesting people from places like New Zealand, the UK, Sweden, France, Estonia, and Africa. Each time I publish a book or an article it feels as though I’m sending something I’ve given birth to out into the world to make its mark. Words can’t describe the joy that I feel when someone really is touched by something I’ve written and it changes them or even makes them stop for a moment to think.
My first traditionally published book, “One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way As An Indie Author” was published last year. During the launch I had jitters like I’ve never experienced before. I wondered, "Will this be the book that allows me to live my dream of writing full time?" The short answer was no but the book is truly helping other writers, it has given me some beautiful gifts, and because of it I’m several steps closer to achieving my dream. Our hopes and the grand plan of our lives aren’t always mirror reflections of one another and I’ve made peace with that.
As authors we must realize that each book, each poem, and every single blog post we write changes us. It took me a while to realize but the last book has me to shake off the last tendrils of my own naivete. I will no longer chase after material success but rather do the best work I possibly can and will already be filled with content the day that success finally catches up to me. The writing is far more important than money. Money can be spent, money can be lost or stolen but our writing is the legacy that will live long after we take our last breath. I owe everything to writing and to my readers. Because of writing, and you, I am already wealthy beyond measure in everything that matters.