Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Writing Changed My Life

When reading Maggie's wonderful post about how writing saved her life, I have nothing to compare. However, when I began thinking about it, I realized writing has truly changed mine.

Many of you know I married young, raised five children, husband was gone a lot with the Seabees and when he retired the grandkids started arriving. I worked on and off through the years, wrote things like PTA newsletters, plays for my Camp Fire Girls, etc. I've always been a voracious reader and wrote short stories when I was a kid. While the kids were young tried my hand at two novels which were rejected almost immediately, tossed them out and decided I probably didn't have what it takes.

While babysitting grandkids I managed to write another historical family saga. It went through lots of rejections but after tons of rewrites, it was finally accepted for publication. I wrote another which was also accepted.

By this time, hubby and I had moved to the foothills of the Sierra where we now live and is the setting for my Deputy Tempe Crabtree novels. I switched to mysteries and wrote several of my Rocky Bluff crime novels--the first one published as an e-book, long before anyone had a clue what that was.

Rather than go into the whole long history of my writing and publishing, these are the things that changed my life because of writing.

1. I doubt I would have learned how to use computers as early as I did if it hadn't been for my writing. I got so tired of typing and retyping my books I was ready to try anything to make it easier. Of course I had to have lots of help from the fellow I bought the computer from.

2. I was one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime and I've made so many friends there. I still attend the meetings whenever I have the opportunity. (I also belong to the L.A. and Central Coast chapters and have friends in both.)

3. Once my first mystery was published, I attended my first Bouchercon there I met
so many wonderful people in the mystery field--authors and fans.

4. I've since attended other Bouchercons, Left Coast Crimes, Mayhem in the Midlands and other mystery cons and made more friends. Going to one of these events now is like attending a family reunion. It's so much fun to see people I know and enjoy being around even if it is only once a year.

5. To get to all these places, hubby and I usually fly. I used to be a bit nervous--now I think of it as an adventure--even when I end up having to spend the night in an airport because of a missed flight due to weather, or being the last flight into Chicago during blizzard.

6. Together, we've visited places all over the country we've never seen before and probably would never have gone to if it hadn't been for the mystery cons.

7. Alone, I've been to Alaska twice. The first time, I went to visit a school in a tiny village and was driven there on a frozen river. The second time, I stayed with a Native woman I'd met and visited a school in Wasilla.

8. I was fortunate to be asked to be an instructor at the Maui Writers Retreat in Maui--and took hubby along--he who didn't think he ever wanted to go to Hawaii and had the time of his life while I worked.

9. I'm on the board of directors for the Public Safety Writers Association and I'm the program chair for their annual conference in Las Vegas and I've met the most fascinating experts in the public safety field as well as top notch mystery writers who've agreed to come and teach.

10. If I wasn't a mystery writer I might be like some of my friends who are my age who mostly talk about their ailments, their grandkids (I love mine and my great grandkids but I have to many I'd monopolize the conversation if I told about each one of them), how bored they are, or gossiping.

So, you can see, my life has really been changed by my writing.

Marilyn

4 comments:

  1. You are so lucky to live such an active life...with your travels and writing, especially. Wow, you must never be bored!

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  2. Very interesting, Marilyn! I've gotten started writing late myself. Always wanted to try my hand at it I just never had the time what with working full time, raising a family and having a husband. Now though, I am able to pursue my dream of writing. And what fun! I plan to order one of your books since I haven't read any. They all seem so interesting.

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  3. Hi, Patsy. No, I'm never bored, but I sure do get tired sometimes.

    And Zaqueatta Jaques, my advice is read the kind of books you want to write, learn the rules about writing, (which can be broken), and then sit down and begin.

    Marilyn

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  4. Marilyn, thanks for sharing how writing has shaped your life. I laughed when I read the one about the computers. I'm with you. If not for writing, I would not be using the computer for more than e-mail and solitaire. :-) And every day there are new technologies to challenge us older folks. :-)

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