While you contemplate my travel plans with envy, I’ll admit to being envious of the other Wranglers’ defining moments. How cool are they?!? My own seem a little… meh…in comparison. And to be honest, I’m not even sure what I have are truly “defining moments.” I imagine a defining moment as involving a holy light from an unknown source, an angelic choir hitting a high note, and maybe even harps playing in the background. None of mine have had this.
Regarding my writing career, the first defining moment would be when I decided to become a writer. Celebrating my 40th birthday in Vegas with a girlfriend, I’d finished a particularly unsatisfying romance novel and declared “I can write this bad!” To which, my friend raised her margarita and clinked mine and declared, “Yes! You CAN write that bad!”
The next defining moment was when, upon the suggestion of a writer-cousin, I looked up a local writing group… only to see that their writing contest entry deadline was that day! An angelic choir might have struck a chord at that moment because I remember thinking it must be a sign for me to enter. So I did, knowing that I would hands-down win, even the categories I didn’t enter, because my manuscript was just. that. awesome. Well, I did final. In my chosen category. Because I was one of five entries so my odds were pretty good. The education and comments I received from that small monetary investment is immeasurable, and redirected me onto a serious path toward being a writer.
Then there was my first IRWA meeting I attended. Again taking the advice of my cousin and the invitation of the contest chairperson, I showed up at one meeting, nervous as all get-out. Within minutes, the gal sitting next to me was talking about all the torture she was putting her characters through, and I knew I’d found a home.
Perhaps the most defining moment was when I came out as a Romance Author to my boss and co-workers. I don’t use the phrase “come out” lightly… and it wasn’t an easy declaration to make even in the supportive environment of my employer. There was a lot of potential for contempt, disregard, and mocking. My heart was pounding, my knees weak and my words bursting forth in a gush as if their speed would make the truth easier to speak and be heard. Amazingly (thankfully), it was well-received. And while I don’t think anyone has become a rabid fan, no one turned their backs on me. It was the first—enormous and gut-wrenching—step toward being comfortable with myself as a romance writer. Each successive introduction of my passion to a stranger has gotten easier, and I no longer worry that they won’t like me when they learn what I do. Because I love myself and my writing, and if they don’t, that’s their problem.
Still no holy light or angelic choirs, but I don’t think I need them. J