Written for the prompt imagine at Writer’s Island

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” ~ Napoleon Hill

One of the questions I often hear writers ask each other is, “So when did you know you wanted to be a writer?” If you think about that question, there’s a deeper one. “So when did you imagine you had what it took to be a writer?”

I have always wanted to be a famous writer.  Not just famous, but a writer that made a difference, and people didn’t rip apart my work (lol – I’m imagining – work with me).  I remember summer days where I would lay on the grass and look up through the trees into a perfect sky, and imagine I was in Chicago being interviewed on Oprah for my f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s book. She would ask me, “What hardships did it take to become the star you are today?” and I’d tell her all sorts of made up things.

It never occurred to me at 13 that I might tell her I quit writing for 18 yrs. Or that it would take depression, hypothyroidism, homemaking articles, poetry, and online blogging to pull me out of that pit. Or that my husband would lose his job, and my mom would call me up after my dad died and say, “You and I both know Dad would want you to go to this writing conference, so you’re going.” What that meant was Mom paid my way with some of Dad’s life insurance money, and hell or high water, I’m going to be published, because you just don’t let your Mom do that and then fail. You’re supposed to help your widowed mother, not borrow her money.

I can’t believe I typed that out loud.  But it’s true.

I’m beginning to understand the process of becoming a writer as Napoleon Hill saw it. Until I physically said to a group of friends, “I’m a writer,” I wasn’t. I was just a mom that wrote. When I sat down at a restaurant and was typing away on my manuscript, a friend stopped by my table and said, “Aine, I didn’t know you were an author.” Up to that point, I hadn’t thought of it that way.  There was something about the imagined flash across the movie screen that says, “Based on the book by Aine” or the announcement on the radio, “Book signing at Barnes and Noble with author Aine Schulmire,” that made it real.

Haha – I know… I’ve heard all the horror stories about no one showing up and all that – but just the thought of someone saying my name on the radio, and some person I’ve never met thinking, “Oh – I know who that is.  I liked her book.”  I think that’s cool.  And that’s when I got serious and started looking up conferences, blogs, and other venues to learn HOW to be an author. Yes, at first I was one of those naive people who thought you just sat down and wrote a book.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

But I’ve learned a lot in the past 3 years, and keep moving forward.  I write.  I make sacrifices. Sometimes I sacrifice going out kite flying with the kids so I can have a peaceful two hours to write. Very hard for me to do that. I’ve left friends behind who poke fun at the kind of writing I do.  (Not my stuff – the genre.) Death by association – no thank you.  I spend money and leave my family for a week at a time to attend conferences so I can learn and be critiqued by authors who are already accomplished the way I want to be accomplished. I hang out online with folks that are like-minded – I’m still searching for like-minded “writer” friends in the flesh. But I’ll find them. 😉

I write what I imagine, and I  imagine what I write. Write, write, write. I can’t say it’s hard work, because I love it too much to be hard. But then again, it isn’t easy to being told to scrap nine chapters and start over because you should write the whole thing in third person either.

I’ll do it though – I’ve already started.