I was a young teenager when I first started writing, pounding out poorly structured stories on a manual Smith Corona typewriter. Lawrence Block’s fiction column in Writers Digest was my monthly gospel.
I would spend hours scanning Writers Market searching for magazines that might be interested in my stories. I even collected a few rejection slips. I expected to be published before I turned 20.
I only missed that goal by 30 years.
So how did my career get sidelined for three decades? Well, it’s complicated.
Of course, there was college with all its exams, labs, and term papers. And then a short-lived stint in journalism, two failed marriages, and a gender transition, which turned my whole world upside down.
And then eight years ago, I started writing again when I learned about National Novel Writing Month. I wrote a number of stories, slowly learning the craft of writing with the help of several critique groups.
Eventually I found an agent who signed me with a major publisher, my childhood dream come true.
Part of me wishes I had been published 30 years ago. Imagine where I would be now if I had. What a waste of three decades!
But another part of me realizes that the challenges that I’ve experienced are the rich soil from which my stories grow. I have so much to draw from as I create characters and plot lines.
And in that light, these lost decades were hardly a waste. They were an unintentional investment. And I am glad that now, as I face my 50th birthday, my childhood dreams are being realized.