I was one of those four-eyed kids with my nose always buried in a book. If I wasn’t reading, I was scribbling into a tablet hidden behind my textbook in class. I even wrote while walking down the hall between classes. The other kids would warn one another to get out of my way.
So it came as no surprise that I grew up and became a writer. Okay, it was a little bit of a surprise. Even during those idealistic days I knew writing didn’t go far in paying the bills. My dreams of writing fiction for pleasure and maybe someday even publication were put on the back burner.
I went to school, joined the Army, got married, had a kid, procured some debt, and dreamed of writing novels. I designed my office in my head and pictured myself sitting in front of a typewriter—this was an old dream—and writing the next great American novel.
Fast forward about ten years. The kid grew up—sort of—I paid off some debt, but writing never left my thoughts for long. I always had stacks of typewritten pages and tablets filled with my illegible scratches close at hand. But that novel was never written.
Finally in 1999 I was able to quit work and focus on my writing fulltime. Even being home every day, I managed to waste another year or two before getting serious and getting down to work. I admire writers who work full-time, raise kids, and pump out volumes. Either I don’t have the talent, the discipline, or the chutzpah to write a few thousand words a day while keeping my floors mopped, let alone working a full-time job.
So here I am 10 years after retiring from the real world and earning that elusive thing many people recognize as a paycheck. I have five books published in the Christian fiction market, though currently am without a contract. Sometimes I feel like I’m starting from scratch, like the last ten years never happened. Most of the time I’m thankful for everything these ten years have taught me.
Anyway, that’s my journey so far. I am living proof that an unagented, unknown, under educated author can find a traditional publisher. So don’t give up. Keep writing, keep growing in your craft, and spend time with like-minded people who understand what you’re going through. It isn’t always the destination that matters, it’s the journey in getting there.
Teresa Slack‘s first novel Streams of Mercy, the first in her series of Jenna’s Creek Novels, won the 2005 Bay Area Independent Publishers Award for “Best First Novel.” Book 3 in the series, Evidence of Grace, debuted at #18 nationwide according to Christian Retail Magazine. Her most recent releases are Runaway Heart, a full length romance, and a short story Heartburn, Volume One in her True Stories Celebrating Love & Family series. Both were released in February 2013. Teresa is currently getting her feet wet in the e-publishing landscape with several more short stories for upcoming anthologies, as well as working on another novel. She and her husband share their Ohio home with two rescue dogs. Readers are encouraged to visit her author page on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/