I started writing when I was 14 and it changed everything. I can't even begin to describe how much it changed my life, and me.
I started my first novel in a notebook until I got my first computer. Typing was so much faster than writing with a pen. I was amazed by how many words I could write in a day--and amazed that my computer kept up with how many words I had. My first complete novel wasn't good. In fact, it was horrible. My writing had no structure and no personality since I was so inexperienced. It's full of grammatical mistakes and plot holes, but I enjoyed writing it. I didn't care that there were so many mistakes because I had so much fun writing it. (It was the first in a trilogy and none of them were good, though I loved the premise of the story.)
Writing hasn't gotten easier. But my writing has gotten better over time. I feel like my writing improves with every new novel I start. The first book I wrote was horrible, but I'll never forget it. I'll never
forget how accomplished and proud I felt when I finished it. I'll never forget how it felt to write it. Mostly because the same wave of emotions flow through me every time one of my books reaches "the end." It's an amazing feeling. I bask in it for a while, and then it's on to the next idea!
I never thought I would come this far. When I finished my first book, I didn't think about publishing it. I didn't know what to do with it. I finished it, had fun while writing it, and planned to write another. I was happy to keep the book to myself. I wasn't ready for anyone to read it yet. It wasn't until several months later that I finally let a friend read it. (I'm so sorry!!)
I didn't think about publishing until about four books later. I'd edit each book from then on, before sending each book out to agents and publishers with no luck, until I finally wondered if I should self-publish. With every new book I wrote, I told myself that if no one wanted to represent it, I would publish it myself. It took me two years before I finally decided to take the bull by the horns. I knew that if I didn't just do it, I would continue to convince myself not to (like so many other writers do). I didn't want to keep putting myself--and my writing--down like that.
This led to my decision to publish The Darkest Light. I thought the writing was good enough (it was the first book I wrote in present tense) and that the plot was pretty original. It was something totally different from what I'd written before in terms of plot, world, characters and writing style.
It was a struggle. I ran into many problems along the way, but I got it done and I'm happy that I did. Since then, my knowledge of self-publishing has widened, and I feel that my writing has strengthened with the creation of two more novels.