People ask why I started writing. What was the “thing” that did it to me, turned on the switch, sent me rushing down this tube like a water slide. Well, I blame the pilgrims.
Seriously, when I was in fourth grade, my teacher made us write a short story about the pilgrims for Thanksgiving. Our stories were on display to the entire school. I even illustrated it! I still have it somewhere in its entire tattered splendor, but the effects of writing it are more important. I never got over the experience.
My dear sainted mother kept that illustrated story and gave it to me shortly before she passed away. She said she had kept it for me so I could see what progress I had made. She always said she wanted to write a book, but it was just out of her grasp. If only I could have known then what I know now, and that is, you are a writer the moment your fingers hit the keys.
She did write a bit of autobiographical work as she went along. Something to keep her memories, I suspect. If I only knew then what I know now, I could have encouraged her. So let this be a lesson to all of us. Encourage a fledgling writer! Tell them it is okay to write goofy stuff, zany stuff, and stream-of-thought stuff. There is no written law that says you have to write it, edit it, revise it, and show it to others. You do not have to submit it and be accepted (or rejected). You are still a writer!
But I digress.
The writing journey for me was buried for a time under college days, marriage vows, and child-rearing duties, but it was never forgotten. In the late 1990’s, my husband brought home a computer, put me down in front of it, and told me to quit talking about writing a book, and just do it. The buried desire came floating to the top of my mind like fat on a cold soup. I wrote a fantasy because I thought everyone wrote fantasy. I mean look at the popularity of Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter! But when someone told me it was young adult writing, I got discouraged. I didn’t mean to write young adult!
So then I wrote a historical romance. It was fun! I had to do a lot of research and it took a great deal of time, and the writing was almost secondary. Then I learned how research should be the secondary part, not the writing. Alas! Once again, I turned away.Before long, I decided to try my hand at something entirely different and set out to write a mystery. The problems really began then. I could not make the characters behave. They told me what to write and forced me to write it. They were nutty and out of vogue by popular standards, and I knew I was in trouble.
But when I discussed these “bad children” with my friends who were writing books, they told me how wonderful it was to have that happen and that I must follow along with it. So I did. The story flowed out of me like water running from a faucet. I had found my voice.
I haven’t quit writing since. I love readers and fans, and spend a lot of time on the web meeting and greeting them. On my blog, I post about my writing journey and promote the adventures of Shannon Wallace who is the main character of my book, Avenging Angel. It’s been a wild ride, this writing life, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world.
Kim Smith is the author of Avenging Angel, A Shannon Wallace Mystery and can be found online at http://www.mkimsmith.com. The book can be purchased through the publisher, Red Rose Publishing at http://www.redrosepublishing.com