By Rebecca Dooley
I have always had an active imagination. Being a socially awkward child, I spent more time in my head with my imaginary friends than I did with the few real friends that I did have. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to put my imaginations down on paper. My best friend and I were pretty much on the lower rungs of the social ladder and nowhere near the radars of our crushes.
So what do nineties high school girls do when they’re bored in class? They write notes. (Remember this was pre-everyone-has-a-cellphone era. The cool kids had beepers.) I had nothing of interest to write so I wrote a quick little romance starring my best friend and her crush, complete with happy ending. Later that day she bested me with the one she wrote starring me and my crush. That went on for a while and though she lost her battle with health issues recently, I still have the stories that she wrote and I’ll treasure them always.
Fast forward, to a young wife and mother that drifts away into her imagination while doing boring housework. I wasn’t writing anymore but I was still hanging out with my imaginary friends. But that all changed with a dream one night.
The dream wouldn’t let me go, so I wrote it down. Then I began to expand on it and the characters, setting, and everything else began to come to life. I worked on it when and where I could, albeit sporadically. Almost fifteen years later and I’m still working on that piece, though I have set a deadline to finish it and publish before the end of summer. You can follow my journey with it on my social media sites below.
But what solidified my drive to achieve my dreams of becoming a published author? Fast forward to June 2015. I’m a stay-at-home mom of two, a teenage daughter and a six year old son on the autism spectrum and the idea for “Rhona’s Cottage” begins dancing around my imagination. And I ran with it.
The writer’s enthusiasm for a new story took root and at the end of the day, I was on cloud nine with the determination to complete this one. How did I do it? (FYI, I’m easily distracted by other ideas.)
First, I built an author’s page, invited my trusted friends and family to like it first and began telling them about the journey of writing my first book. All of the triumphs and accomplishments (writer’s high), my frustrations when I sat and stared at my screen for hours or distractions due to life in general, and everything that went along with it.
Next, during one of the days that the words wouldn’t come, I built a website. I am in no way shape or form a tech person and building the site took a while and more frustration than I want to admit.
What does either have to do with writing? For me, I created the author’s page on FaceBook and the website to keep myself focused on the long term and committed to finishing the book. And it paid off. I finished and self-published. Was it or is it perfect? No. But I learned from my mistakes.
The entire process was a learning one for me and that’s exactly what I told everyone that stuck with me till the end. I’m learning as I go. I learned alot and I still have much more to learn. But I’m happy with the process and experience. And thanks to dragging my family and friends with me on this journey ultimately resulted in more interest in my first book than I ever imagined.
To follow my ongoing journey, visit the links below.