I've been writing for a long, long time. Many authors will talk about how they put together their first stapled books at the tender age of four or five or ten. I did that, too. But when I say I've been writing for a long time–I mean I've been at this for a long time as an adult.
There have been fits and starts, especially during the years when my children were very small. In fact, I didn't touch my writing for about fifteen years.
I started out pitching agents and editors at conferences and through friends with contacts in the publishing industry. And though I worked hard, nothing came to fruition. I spent about six years trying to get published, and despite the many “good” rejection letters (the ones where the editor or agent urges you to skip the query letter queue and just send whatever else you have), I finally quit.
Then–enter the self-publishing revolution. And unlike in 1999, I could take advantage of online courses, internet mastermind groups designed for writers, and a fantastic book: The Story Grid.
Today, I'm a Story Grid Certified Editor. What does that mean? Mostly, it means that after floundering in rejection letters that might as well have been written in hieroglyphics, I finally understand what I need to do. My writing was never the problem. Rather, I needed an editor to help me figure out the story structure for my books. The economics of the publishing industry means that unlike in the distant past, editors at publishing houses don't have the time to edit. I would have to become my own editor.
I've pulled out those old manuscripts and dusted them off. I will Story Grid them and get them into final form before publishing them. Join me as I go through the journey, fixing the problems that stopped me in my tracks all those years ago. I'll be blogging my journey right here on my website.
Although I now live on an old farm in New England, I'm originally from Honolulu, Hawaii…a gloriously beautiful archipelago smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (yes, I took the picture below! I grew up there!). I grew up watching a lot of anime, speaking Japanese, and not realizing that the rest of America doesn't do either of those things. My first trip to the U.S. mainland was when I flew out to Washington, D.C. for college. I think “culture shock” is an understatement for what I experienced there.
I'm a 1987 graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. I majored in international economics…what was I thinking?! I sampled the Wall Street analyst life for a bit afterwards but very quickly realized that…uh…it wasn't “me.”
I also went to grad school and studied my first love, early Japanese history. I got my master's degree in 1991 from Harvard. I loved my graduate work. I think I could have lived in the Yenching Library forever. But alas, life moves on, and I had to decide between academia and an income. I did some of each, jetting between the University of Chicago and the State Department. I lived in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Egypt, and later on in Ramallah and Jerusalem. I was lucky and got to learn Arabic along the way. The Middle East and its wonderful people will always have a special place in my heart.
Right now, I'm the homeschooling mom to four great kids, ages 15 through 22, although only my younger two are still at home. I spend a lot of time cheering at swim meets and rowing regattas.