I thought everyone could write if they just sat down and put their mind to it. As my facility for words came easily to me, I never thought it was important.
A facility for manipulating numbers was of consequence, after all, because I spent more than a score of years as an academic researcher. I would see my colleagues glance over a few pages of charts, tables, and graphs and see a story line. Not so for me.
However, the University of Southern California offered me a free MFA degree for working there, and I took advantage of it. The requirement for my MFA degree was a competent novel, which happened to be my third.
I had scored an agent with my first novel, pretty much my autobiography, which should surprise no one. It was dreadful and she was a dreadful agent, but she whetted my appetite for publication. The second novel was a little better, and once again I have a sad story about another agent. The fourth novel was much better, but by then the gateway to publication, which had always been narrow had tightened.
It took me four full-length, finished and polished novels to teach myself how to write, and become profoundly discouraged about publication. By this time avenues to self-publishing were opening up. I wasted two years dithering about whether I was too good to self-publish.
However, I’m old and two years is a long time to waste. I had always loved mystery fiction and a crisis in my life opened up a huge block of time. The dark side beckoned, and my first murder mystery came easily and so did the second. I self-published through createspace and it’s been the right choice for me.
I don’t think I could write three good books in three years to meet a contract with a traditional publisher. I like being in control of the process, the timing, and have only myself (and limited resources) to blame for the fact that I am not an international bestseller.
However, I like my mystery life, blogging, attending writing conferences, and finishing the sixth of a series of short EBooks on the craft of writing mysteries. Along the road of publishing my six crime fiction novels, I’ve picked up some fine writing friends who see the world the way I do. That’s a quite unexpected benefit of getting published.
You might enjoy reading my work available here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mar+preston