I had a journal in high school. It was passionate with emotion on my budding relationship with my husband. We started dating really young. Well, during one of our breakups, I torched the journal. Bad decision. I would have loved reading it now.
I really didn’t choose writing. Writing chose me. I was diagnosed Bipolar in 2004 and my therapist suggested it. I started out small, writing a poem here and there, but my love for writing quickly grew. I stayed in the poetry world for years and felt so comfy and safe there. I had dozens of poems accepted over the years. I was addicted to getting accepted. I felt like a piece of my mind was being accepted into the world. Like my thoughts, sometimes, were worth something. Something meaningful.
Anyway, after the acceptances poured in, it was getting to be every poem I submitted, I wasn’t being challenged anymore.
I got this really cool thing in the mail. I don’t know how I got it, but it was information on how to enroll in the Institute of Children’s Literature. I was so excited; I took the aptitude test and passed right away. I signed up and took the class. It was very hands on. They would provide a writing lesson and I was to hand it in, by mail. They would send them back all marked up with tons of feedback. It was extremely rewarding. Very challenging, to say the least, but I followed through and got my certificate and college credits. July of 2009 I received my certificate. One of my stories became a published book.
So I was in the children’s writing phase for a while, writing picture book stories, but nothing really panned out. I was writing adult short stories too. I was going back and forth. Some of my adult short stories got published too. But I found that writing short stories wasn’t cutting it for me either. I was having a hard time getting them accepted. I was frustrated, beyond frustrated. So I kept testing my voice, between adult stories and children’s stories and that’s when I started writing YA, without me even knowing it. I’ve never gotten this much praise on any of my other writing as I did with YA. I nestled into YA very easily. I even had an agent in the very beginning and that book was ultimately published too.
I worked my way up from very small, tiny, tiny poetry, to writing novels. My writing has flourished over the years. Today it is the ultimate challenge for me. Dear God, climbing the publishing ladder is nearly impossible it seems. But so help me, God, I am going to do it, and keep doing it. My mind just won’t let me give up. I’ve prayed so hard to let go of writing, but it’s basically impossible for me. Again, I have the Bipolar disorder so, with my mental illness, I need to write. Whether I get published or not, I must write on.
So whatever you do, don’t let yourself give up. Believe in the fact that if you absolutely adore the written word, giving up writing is not an option. And just know that starting out small is perfectly okay. Going from not writing at all to writing a novel is a giant leap. Some people can do it. Some people get their books accepted by big publishers right away. I’m glad I worked my way up. It would be extremely hard to top a book you published by a big publisher right away. But again, some people can do it. I’m thankful of my experience with writing. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.