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Thursday, December 27, 2012

More Author Insight: Turning Pro

Can you recall the moment writing went from hobby to career? Was it a long-term goal made reality or a happy accident?

"Writing for a career has always been a long-term goal of mine, but making the decision to actually do it kind of evolved over the years. I wrote my first novel in my teens, but didn’t contemplate writing for publication until my twenties. That was a while ago." - Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light.

"It never really felt like a hobby. I was a very driven twelve-year-old (read: pyscho-ambitious) so I always wanted to get a book published. I didn't have a clue how to do so, but the goal was definitely always there in one from or another." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar.

"Even now, with two published books, I still look at writing as my hobby. Which is odd, since I’d always wanted to be a writer, and I sort of stumbled into my profession as a nurse. But nursing pays the bills, and writing stories is what I do for fun. I have to keep reminding myself that when I’m stressing out about reviews or marketing plans." - Robin Bridges, author of The Unfailing Light.

"From the moment I started writing, I was super disciplined about it, so it always felt like more than a hobby. That said, it wasn’t until I quit my day job as an engineer that I really felt like writing was my career instead of just something else that I did. Quitting the day job was a well-planned out event that was definitely part of goal planning." - P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

"Writing became a career when the first check came in the mail. It was never a hobby but a passion. I would be writing no matter what I do to make money." - Lara Avery, author of Anything But Ordinary.

"Perhaps after I wrote a puppet play for my class of first graders. A mother came up to me and said, "That was good!" I didn't know what she was talking about. It was a puppet play for first graders. It turned out she was a literary agent for children's fiction. Now, she's my agent." - Adam Gidwitz, author of In a Glass Grimmly.

"The day my writing went from hobby to career was the day I decided to make it one, and that was five years before I ever sold my first book. I think writing has to be treated like unpaid career for a long time before it actually becomes one. Unless you’re really, REALLY lucky! And that happens, too!" - Sharon Cameron, author of The Dark Unwinding.

"It was a determined goal, made the morning I stuck my daughter on the school bus. As the bus drove away, I decided to do what I’d always wanted to do – write a novel and get it published. So I started that very day." - Suzanne Selfors, author of The Sweetest Spell.

"During college I took a writing workshop on the short story. The workshop was invaluable because it taught me how to revise a story, but it also marked the point at which I began to think seriously about getting published. As part of the workshop, our teacher showed us how to submit short stories for publication. After that, I began to think of writing as a professional thing. It actually scared me a lot, and it took me another ten years before I was able to begin actively working toward that dream. It was absolutely a goal of mine. I worked for it!" - Malinda Lo, author of Adaptation

"Mine was a happy accident and I can actually tell you the exact date it happened, April 9, 2009. I had been writing for eleven months, had completed nearly six novels and my editor now, who had requested a manuscript from me eight months earlier when he was an agent, then rejected that manuscript as an editor, sent me an email that changed everything. He said he’d been thinking about my book and he really wanted to acquire a young adult time travel story, but I needed to rewrite it completely and change almost everything.  And I replied just minutes later and said, 'Sure…this sounds fun.' And writing that first draft of the book that became Tempest was the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life. During the process, I occasionally think…omg, we’re really doing this, aren’t we? And that did create a very quick swing from hobby to career for me." - Julie Cross, author of Tempest.

"It took me 7 novels and 15 years for me to see a book of mine on a shelf, which was a long-term goal achieved, no doubt. That said, for many of those years I gave up on the publishing aspect of the thing. I wanted to just write. I wanted to explore what my brain could do with a typewriter and paper and had zero interest in publishing. I suppose the moment I saw writing change into career in my head was during the writing of my 6th novel. I remember thinking: 'Hmm. This is something I could see in a real book.'" - A.S. King, author of Ask the Passengers.

On Tuesday, find out if the authors every worry about how their readers will react to a scene or plot twist. 

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