By Mercer AddisonAuthor, Heather Graham actually started me writing. Not that she sat beside me and encouraged me or even knew that she did. She didn’t. My writer’s journey started over 16 years ago, on a treadmill, reading one of Graham’s medieval paperbacks I had picked up in a used book store. While reading Graham’s worn and creased book, I thought that writing was an easy thing to do. I figured I could write just as well or better than HG. I visualized my hero scaling a wall to save the damsel. I thought I was going to write a best seller, retire before I turned fifty-five, and say hello to Florida! Thus, I let my gym fees expire, and started writing my own medieval and doing it alone.
I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote (on my first book). Ending up with over 180,000 words, (possibly more), I titled it, Twice the Pleasure, and later thought of it as Twice the Length it Should Be. What was wrong here is that I didn’t bother to learn how to write, or even craft a story that an editor wanted. I knew nothing about formatting a manuscript, plot, GMC, word count (limiting it), characterization, and the dreaded synopsis.
I’m not sure how I found Romance Writers of America, stumbled onto it somehow. Get it? Romance? And this was another mistake of mine, not knowing diddly about writing a romance, of which none of my stories were at the time.
I can’t even remember how Rose City Romance Writers (with emphasis on the third word) came into my life; think it was through RWA’s list of chapters. So I joined RCRW. A fellow chapter member, and my very first critique partner, pointed out to me that I had over 50 different POV’s in my story’s first chapter alone. I even switched POV between sentences and paragraphs. Yikes! I just wanted every one of my characters to voice their own opinion. What in the heck was POV anyway? Another blaring mistake exposing that little old me didn’t know the craft of writing. Thus, in the year 2000, I went to my first RWA conference in Washington, DC. There, I learned about POV by taking a workshop on POV. Novel idea! Just want to say that in the ensuing years I’ve been writing, I did learn my craft, I entered so many contests I was known as a contest slut, I won many first places, and I also have an agent.
I have witnessed many changes within the publishing community and self-publishing is one of the biggest. Along with my despair of ever being published with the big four, or even with an e-publisher taking me on, I decided to do it myself. My age is also one big catalyst, as I wanted to see my name in print before I croak or lose my mind, whichever comes first. With the help of fellow chapter-mates, forums on RWA, and workshops, I’ve been able to learn how to self-publish my work, Even Nectar is Poison, of which is not a romance, but a good old-fashioned love story.
My journey is a good example of why we need to dispel the notion of the lonely writer plugging away and all by their lonesome. Because if you’re going to go it alone, you’re going to make many mistakes, you’re going to miss out on working with your peers. You’re going to miss out on a great many opportunities that each and all of us need to be successful.
And this is where I say, it takes a village folks, it takes a village.
Learn more about Mercer Addison at www.MercerAddison.com