It’s seems ridiculous to state the obvious, but I’ve loved writing since childhood. I truly enjoyed daydreaming ideas and then turning them into stories. Like so many of my generation, earning a living had to come first and there was no guarantee that writing fictional stories could do that for me.
Still, I had the dream.
I was doing a post-NaNoWriMo cleanout over the weekend and came across this article I had saved from the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1993 written by Valerie Parv , an icon of Australian Romance writing. Most of the content is relevant today, except maybe the tips on presentation for when you want to send off your manuscript. Some younger writers might not know the meaning of : “Use a clean ribbon or good quality printer typeface – not dot matrix.”
It was a balanced piece that pointed to the delights and how-tos of writing in the genre but it also warned that achieving publication was, statistically, not a likelihood. So, at once, I could imagine myself as a writer – yes, I can do this – but then, just as effectively, it told me to stick to my day job if I wanted to contribute to the family finances.
The article appeared at a time in my life when I wanted to lose myself in writing romance, but it was also the time when I was slap-bang in the middle of research and writing for my PhD, an imperative for career advancement as an academic. The PhD was awarded not many years later but the romance writing was left on hold.
It was another twenty years before I took the risk to write romance and that was for my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month.
That story eventually became “Happy with the Millionaire” which was published in October.
I’m pleased to say that @ValerieParv is still providing encouragement for people stepping up to write romance. She warmly offers advice, counsel and mentoring.
To add my tuppence worth: If you want to write, don’t wait. Do it now, even if you have to make time to do it; find a good editor who will be blunt about what needs to be changed or improved; then go out and pitch the story especially when there are twitter pitch events happening. If the story is a good one, it will find a home. If you want more direct control, then publish it yourself.