Recently, I posted something personal on Twitter that made me think back on my life over the last 3 1/2 years–the entirety of my writing career (well, the part where I was getting paid). It seems like it has been a lifetime (in a good way) since I made my first dollar from some truly awful erotica. It feels just as long since my first novel–JUST A DUMB SURFER DUDE–was published on June 25th, 2018. I remember clearly the moment I hit the button to make it available for purchase on Amazon/KDP. My only thought was: “Well, we’ll see what happens.“
Who knew that a little book about a trio of friends and their love entanglements at an exclusive boys school in Vermont would actually give me a writing career?
Regardless, though 3.5 years is far from being a lifetime, a lot can happen in such a length of time. Love, loss, health concerns, triumphs, failures, sadness, happiness, humiliations, love, sex, fights, reconciliations, friendships…food. So much life is lived and so much experience is gained in such a relatively short amount of time. This is especially true between one’s early teenage years and 30 years old. They are such formative and informative years of life.
If you told me what would happen between June 25th, 2018 and now, I wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, it probably would have terrified me. Not that my life isn’t great and filled with joy–because it is–but there have been struggles and sadness along the way, too. Such is life, right? You just hope that the joy outweighs the sadness. In my case, the joy has made the sadness seem like nothing more than a petty annoyance.
I’m so grateful.
I’m not the same meek, self-conscious 26 year old I was when I first published. Okay. Maybe I’m still a little self-conscious, but I’m working on it. Also, I am pretty meek, I suppose. Unless I’m on social media and I have to “be on.” My default setting is “chill” unless I’m with people I am close to in real life.
Forty-two months have irrevocably changed me. Almost entirely for the better, in my opinion. Some may disagree, but that’s not something with which to concern myself. As I creep up on the beginning of my fourth decade of life, I don’t just look back on life itself, but on my creations.
When I write, I borrow a lot from life. Not to say that every event in one of my books has happened in my life, but the emotions, philosophies, morals, beliefs, sense of humor–it all guides my brain when it tells my fingers what to tap out on the keyboard. Each time I wrote a book, it was like capturing the essence of who I am in a snapshot in time.
It makes me wonder…would those books be the same if I had written them now?
Ultimately, I have realized that every book I’ve written was a perfect snapshot of who I was as a writer *and* a person at that moment in time. There are things I’ve written that don’t resonate with me as deeply as they once did. There are things I’ve written that I am only starting to decipher as my innermost self trying to explain the world to me. There are stories I’ve written that I don’t think I would have written now because I don’t know if I believe what I wrote anymore.
It’s more common that I still 100% percent stand behind my stories, but there are exceptions. I’m not the same writer…because I’m not the same person. I’ll never be the same person. I’m evolving. As people do.
As things stand today, it’s possible that these thoughts have led me to a certain belief when it comes to writing and telling stories. Whatever it is you feel you have to get out, the stories you feel have meaning to you, it’s so important to tell them during the period of life that they come to you. They hold more weight and meaning. They help a writer to understand their journey as a person more deeply. And readers will feel more deeply connected to them. Even if the story stops resonating as much with readers, there are more readers coming along, moving into the stage of life that those stories resonate with, who will discover them.
Those stories live millions of lives in the hands of readers.
Writing is not just a person explaining what life means to them, but helping others to discover all of the different ways life can be lived. Stories help readers learn who they are, who they were, and who they want to become. An author takes their readers on a journey with them because as we all age and learn and experience and grow, the more stories we have to tell. The more insight we can pass along.
Books can be (and, arguably, should be) entertaining, but the best books leave a piece of the author’s soul with the readers. It creates a monument to what once was a snapshot of the writer’s life–even if it’s complete fiction.
I’m so honored to share my soul with you all.
Hopefully, it helps you on your journey. At the very least, I hope you’re entertained.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,