I first had something published the year I started college as a non-traditional student. My first English professor encouraged me to submit an essay I'd written in class to ICON, a Trumbull Campus literary magazine of Kent State University. It was an emotional piece, "Saying Good-bye" about the death of my eighteen year old son with cancer the year before. I received many positive comments about it which only encouraged me to start submitting poetry. From then until I graduated,I had at least one if not more poems in each issue of ICON, but I still did not call myself a writer.
Except for my first semester when I was unsure how I'd do in college after being out of school for so long, I always took extra classes - almost all literature, poetry or writing classes. I was that odd student who loved writing; term papers, poetry, research papers, whatever. It was something I enjoyed, but to me it didn't necessarily mean I was a writer.
When I graduated, I became a third grade teacher. I loved it, but missed the academic life so I went on to get a Masters. Fortunately at that time, I was able to get it in English and didn't have to pursue something relating to elementary education. Again I was in my element; reading, researching and writing. I'm still not sure how I did it because as a teacher, I always went above and beyond what was necessary. Probably on very little sleep. In those years I was a teacher, and that was the only way I saw myself; not as a writer.
Sometime after I got my Masters, I started my first book, a cozy mystery with a gardening theme since gardening is one of my other passions. I'd planned to write a mystery for some years, but I procrastinated until my sister, Elaine, came up with the idea that we should write a book together. We worked on it together in the beginning. However, since we don't live near each other, before long I took over the writing. It took several years, but I finished it. Since it wasn't published, I still didn't consider myself a writer.
Off and on for the next ten years or so, I sent out query letters and with each rejection, I stopped sending out those query letters for several months or longer before starting up again. But I didn't stop writing. I finished a second book in the series, a middle-grade mystery, and I'm almost finished with the third book in this series, and have lots of ideas for more books. I still hated to call myself a writer, though, because if I said that to anyone, they'd ask me what I'd published, and except for poetry over the years, I didn't have anything else published.
I entered the competition for the Guppy anthology FISH TALES, and was so excited when my short story "The Professor's Books" was accepted. Then in 2010 I entered the Love is Murder short story contest and won it for my short story "Cheating on Your Husband Can Get You Killed." I was recognized at the conference in 2011 and received my payment of 5 copies of Crimespree Magazine with my short story in it. Still I didn't think to call myself a writer. It wasn't until FISH TALES finally came out in the spring of 2011, and some of the previously unpublished Guppies started claiming that now they could consider themselves a writer, that I thought, "Oh, yeah! I am a writer." And it hit home even more when I was offered to become a member of the Writers Who Kill blog. A well-established blog with a following wanted me to be a part of their group. Now how exciting is that! Other writers consider me a writer , too.
It doesn't matter if my book, my baby, is not published yet. It will be even if I have to self-publish. THE BLUE ROSE and my other books will be published, and someday I'll be sitting at a table signing my books for readers because I am a writer.