If you follow me on any of my many social media accounts, you know the GIF above is a perfect example of where I am mentally. So, I'm writing this because I need to write something. Anything.
First of all, I had no ground to ever call myself an author a year ago. I wrote, I posted stories, and I played the role of "aspiring author," but I didn't understand the beginning of what it really takes to be a legitimate writer.
I'm slowly figuring it out.
For those of you who know this story, I'll try to make this fast. If you don't, well, here's a little about me: I'm 29. Wife. Mother. Dog lover. Hairstylist. Book lover. Sleepy. Anxious. Typo master to the fullest. Friend. Elizabeth. Comma murderer. American. Medicated. Christian. Californian. Mean girl turned regretful. Skinny-fat. Fat-skinny. Short. Twi-hard.
In 2009, I read a book called Twilight and needed something to help cure the massive book hangover I had. Naturally, I jumped online and that's where I found FFn. I hadn't a clue what fan fiction was at that point, but it most definitely changed my life once discovered. I fed my Team Edward addiction by reading these amazing, original stories written with some of my favorite characters. Suddenly, Edward wasn't only a sensitive vampire, but he was a doctor, an insomniac, a bad boy, a dominant, a fighter ... he was what anyone wanted him to be.
I devoured these tales. I didn't sleep. I didn't eat. I didn't clean. I read. And after a few months of this, I knew I could make Edward what I wanted him to be too.
I wrote Closer.
Not my best piece of work, but it was my first. After Closer, I wrote California Waiting, and then I wrote Revelry. Between all of that, I penned multiple short stories--some I even won contests with. And believe it or not, people actually seemed to like what I came up with. So, I sought out help and got better. I sort of learned where to put a comma, and I kind of learned what I dialogue tag is. To this day, I will mess up tenses and put a semicolon where it doesn't belong. I make the most ridiculous mistakes, but the point is, I discovered a love for writing and therefore made it a very important part of my life.
At that point, I thought I was a writer. I wasn't.
Nothing. And I mean absolutely nothing I knew prepared me for Dusty.
BNA or Big Named Author. Such a stupid label. A stigma. A stereotype. And lately, a bad word among the fandom.
Closer is such a piece of shit story. So is it's sequel. I can go on and on about how wrong they are, but my readers loved them. And so they read the next thing I wrote, and the next, and the next. Enter social media. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, readers and writers and everyone in-between could actually talk to one another. Pennames had a voice, and in the early days, a picture of Robert Pattinson for an avi.
It was cool. We recommended stories to each other and we "pimped" our own. Social media was actually the first place where I was referred to as a BNA. And let's be real, it totally hyped up my ego.
It was cool to be cool.
By the time Sarah and I started Dusty, I had my share of fandom success. I had a reputation for being real and carrying that into my writing. I was opinionated and open. I wasn't blunt, but I wan't afraid to share my thoughts with anyone. I was friendly, but I'm not really sure I was approachable. I was defensive.
Dusty is a MONSTER. It's my heart and soul and demons and dreams and everything written into thirty something chapters. How dare anyone think they had the right to tell me what they didn't like about my heart and soul and demons! How dare anyone suggest what I should change or add or change! Who the fuck is anyone to tell me anything?
Yeah, I was an idiot. And that attitude is one of the reasons I wasn't a real author.
You don't know what rejection is like until someone actually takes time out of their life to create a Twitter account with the sole purpose of calling you a cunt all day. I mean, it had other purposes, like calling my co-writer a cunt too, but yeah, that was tough.
I will not take full responsibility for that, because ... whatever, but I contributed to how people perceived me. Dusty and everything that came with it was unreal. The reactions our readers had, even the amazing ones, felt overwhelming. I started to wonder what had I ever done to deserve the talent for telling a story. Why me? Why are people telling me that I am all of these things? Why am I good enough to be anyones favorite author? Mix in a very fiery relationship with the other half of that and I had the exact recipe for a mental breakdown.
So I had one.
It may have been one of the best things to happen to me. When you are at your highest point, people love you. When you are at your lowest, you find out who and what really matters. I found clarity in my own madness. And I did a lot of soul searching. After apologizing to who I needed to say sorry to, and heavily rethinking what I wanted to do, I was left with an amazing group of friends and drive.
Listen, I am who I am. I can't make you or anyone else like me. But I don't have to be such an asshole. Dusty is an epic story, but it's not the Bible. Not everyone has to like it. And I will write other things. Better things. Worse things. Fails and successes. I'm only 29 and if I have my way, I will live a long life. I plan to write a lot of things. Dusty is not the end all be all.
Over the last few months, I've been given some great advice by some great authors.
I'll name drop a few.
Tiffany Reisz told me to never give up.
Alice Clayton told me my story is amazing and that I need to speak up and be strong.
Christina from Christina Lauren said a mixture of the two.
I could literally go on and on. I have created some mind blowing relationships with some mind blowing authors. And bloggers and editors and readers and and and ...
My dog, Dusty, has become my mascot. When I need some quick love, I cuddle him. And the humans, well, the photobomber is my best friend, Ashley. The handsome man is my husband, Jason. The little boy is my mini.
Ashley and Jason are where real inspiration comes from. When I had that breakdown, it was those two who kept me from drowning. And to this very day, it's they who remind me that everything will be okay. They believe in me. They keep me strong. They sacrifice so much so I can go after what I want:
To be an author.
My first book won't be out until July, but I think I may have achieved this goal. Not because I'm an official Goodreads author.
Not because I have this amazing cover (to be revealed May 1st,) or because my family knows about it and are excited. I'm not an author because I have signings coming up or bookmarks with my name on them or because any of the authors above know who I am.
I am an author because I've spent the last six months editing said book.