Facebook kindly reminded me today is the eight year anniversary of me receiving the proof copy of my first original novel. Before then, I'd only ever written fan fiction. But in November 2010, I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and then spent the following months getting the story to just under 70k, then editing and formatting it ready to take advantage of my prize for winning NaNoWriMo, which was a free proof copy of my book.
You can read the original post here (pics of the proof copy included).
I was so excited and full of plans for the future, and seeing this now, eight years later, has really inspired me.
Back then I was determined to be traditionally published, with an agent. Now I think there's advantages to traditional publishing, but also advantages to self-publishing, and honestly there's no one right answer for each author. Plus what's best to do greatly varies from book to book.
In the eight years since my first novel, I've written many more and played around with fantasy, paranormal and romance. I've come to accept I will always love and want to write multiple genres, just as I love and enjoy reading multiple genres.
I've published one full book and one short-story, as well as having one ghost-written story published, with a second in the works.
To some people that might not seem like a lot, and there are authors who've been writing for the same amount of time as me, or for less time than me, who've written and published more.
But that's something else I learned along the way. You shouldn't compare yourself to others. Be inspired and motivated by others, of course, but everyone is different, and all you can strive to do is focus on becoming the best version of yourself you can be.
For me, that's trying different stories, re-writing stories, jumping from project-to-project, but always learning and improving.
Right now I'm happy with my writing life - guys, I get paid to write books. How awesome is that? - but I've been inspired to do more.
If you've read my blog you'll know I've had health issues for a while, and I'm still dealing with those, as well as mental health issues, but things are getting better and I'm hoping I can devote time to my own writing, as well as ghostwriting. I have so many stories I want to share with the world.
It might take another eight years, it might take less (maybe even more - who knows?) but I'm never going to stop writing, and working toward finishing something I feel is worth putting out there in the world.
So, to all my fellow writers out there, don't give up. Keep chasing your dream, and never lose sight of that excitement that first inspired you to put words on a page.