Write for the Love of it!
My Journey through Writing to Publishing
Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach
What a roller coaster
I was young when I knew I wanted to write but I felt like I was all alone and that it wasn’t something I could share. Who was I, after all to think I could write. I was nothing like Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Hemmingway, JRR Tolkien, Stephen R Donaldson … name any author you took in school or a book you read …
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I decided I wanted to be a writer and an author. Whew, that scared the crap out of me. I don’t know what drove me to write, I just know that it was something that I wanted to do. It was my passion. Making up stories, writing down thoughts, and how to’s, was fun. I wrote about everything. It was truly awesome.
But … I struggled.
I’d do some writing and then stop. Then write … and then stop. It was quite a roller coaster. I knew what I wanted but didn’t seem to be able to get there.
I continued to write down these amazing ideas that were coming to me. And believe me there were a lot. Soon, I had a binder full of them. I had so many ideas to choose from. Cool.
Unfortunately, it became overwhelming. I had too many ideas; I’d start writing but then a better idea would come along. Writing them down didn’t do anything except keep me spinning from one idea to the next.
Since the first story wasn’t turning out like I had hoped, it was easy to ditch and move onto another idea. But it didn’t sound like I wanted it to, either. So I’d move on to the next. Then I’d stop writing.
I really was starting to wonder if I wasn’t meant to be a writer.
But then I’d get inspired and write a full book—80,000 words. Sadly though, it would let me down. It didn’t sound like the intriguing, engaging novel I thought it would.
I had no support.
I don’t know what drove me to continue to write because I had no support, I had no encouragement, I felt like I as failing with every word I wrote.
But that was also my own fault. I was too scared to reach out and tell others that being a writer/author was truly my dream.
So … I kept writing … and stopping … and writing … and stopping … and writing … I failed more times than I can count or want to. I wrote a million plus words, yes you read that right, a million plus words that have not, and probably won’t be seen by anyone else.
If I hadn’t kept going though, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I have 9 published books – 5 suspense/thrillers and 4 heart-touching nonfiction. My 10th book will be out soon.
It hasn’t been an easy road at all but I am love where I’m at.
You’re already a writer.
Early in my writing journey, I was discouraged.
Some of the things I was told over the years:
– you’re story isn’t very good, you should do this … to your story
– I don’t like your character, he’s not very nice
– your dialogue sucks, that’s not what she would say
– why are you wasting your time on that
– who’s going to read it
– that’s kind of a dumb idea
– that’s a nice hobby but you can’t go anywhere with it
– do you really think you’ll be published? You do realize you aren’t famous.
Kind of a kick to the gut, right? These people were tearing apart something I loved and wanted to do. They were destroying my dream.
I didn’t listen. Or maybe I did.
Truly, if I hadn’t had this deep-seated need to write, to prove something, I’m sure I’d have quit. I’d have listened to them.
BUT … Thank the universe, I didn’t. Or maybe I did.
Here’s the interesting part, looking back I realized I did have some supporters and encouragers but I didn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear them because I was too busy letting all the naysayers voice what my conscience was telling me – Who was I? Who would read what I wrote? I’m no good …
Thankfully, I made the shift, I was determined to prove them and myself wrong. But it did keep me stuck for a long time. It kept me going in circles and playing just beneath the level of succeeding, of moving forward. It kept me on one hell of an emotional roller coaster.
I tried everything.
There were a few authors who I really admired and who I wanted to emulate. I knew that would probably never happen but I had to try. So I started writing anything and everything. I wrote poetry, romance, young children’s books/stories, teen books/stories … While I loved writing all of these they weren’t what I wanted to write. They were what I thought I had to, to make it.
Finally, I realized my passion was suspense/thrillers and nonfiction.
As kind of a test, I took one of the books I had written that I felt really had potential. I had written it as a romance and then abandoned it because it didn’t sound like it should. Do you ever do that with your writing, abandon it because it doesn’t sound good?
There is nothing wrong with writing romance but I wanted to write engaging, complex suspense/thrillers.
I tore it apart.
Anyway, I took Captured Lies (which started out with a different lame title) and I tore it apart. I rewrote it and rewrote it and rewrote it. And … I was shocked. It starting to sound good. In fact, I was starting to think really good. Since I was sure that couldn’t be true, I finally asked some trusted people in my life what they thought.
They loved it. Yes there were typos. Yes, there were places where I’d changed someone’s eyes from green to blue. Yes, there were still a few plot holes. But, overall, I had a really good story.
Whoohoo! I finally understood what it took to write a book And it sure didn’t happen the first time. The fifth time. Or even the 10th time. But I figured it out. And since then, I have learned to approach writing so very differently. I now have a process where the first draft is getting the story down. The rewrites is where the magic happens, its where the story becomes the one I want it to be.
It has totally transformed my writing.
I made the shift.
The truth is that I have always been a writer, even when I wasn’t calling myself one. I am an author.
The best lessons I learned were that reaching out and getting help was the best thing I ever did, finding like minded people, and taking courses helped my writing take off. I got to understood writing on a whole new level. I changed how I wrote and how I approached writing. What a gift.
I am thrilled with where I am at. I am thrilled by all I have learned. I am thrilled that I was able to weed through all the crap that is being taught out there and find my own way and my own voice.
I’m glad I didn’t listen. Well, that’s not true. I did listen which is what made the difference. I wasn’t really that good of a writer in the beginning. So there was truth in the negative feedback I was getting. I did need to get better. And the only way to do that was by writing.
Do not let anyone steal your words and your passion.
There is no greater feeling than holding a book that you wrote.
It took writing a million words to convince myself I was a writer.
Don’t follow my lengthy route to follow your dream.
Take the shortcut.
“You are a writer, so write.”