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Declaring Myself

I am an author.
At the end of 2017, I declared myself an author. That statement seems rather anti-climatic after a lifetime of writing, but for me, it was a major step. I’ve written for as long as I can remember. But to declare myself an author, meant allowing the world to know that I write. It meant baring a piece of myself, allowing for critique and possible criticism. No, definite criticism.
When I was younger, much (MUCH) younger, I took a writing critique workshop at the community college in my hometown. It was a terrible mistake. I wasn’t ready. The instructor, a once great writer now spending his time ridiculing those who followed him, did little to prevent, and in many cases encouraged, the class to speak harshly about the work that was being reviewed. I wasn’t in a place either mentally or emotionally where I could handle the feedback. I knew my piece wasn’t perfect, but to have it torn to shreds while other, older writers made fun of the premise and writing style, crushed my desire to put words on the page. After all, if it equaled only ridicule, why would I do that?
After my son was born, I had this blinding concept for a book. I wrote the almost 300 page manuscript in 15 days, using the four hours a day my son was at preschool to furiously type out the movie playing through my head. Is it good? Not particularly. Does it have potential? Definitely! I sent it to my uncle, a published author himself, and accepted his criticism and feedback, but still wasn’t able to handle the feelings of embarrassment at small mistakes I’d made while writing. In retrospect, his words were kinder than I had read them the first time and I’m grateful for the feedback now.
In 2016, I really started exploring genres and styles. I discovered flash and micro fiction. It was magical. Crafting stories from prompts. Challenging myself to include certain aspects of required material in a story generally under 1500 words. I felt bolder. Braver. It was hard and I loved it.
In 2017, I was challenged by a friend to write a story because he was bored and wanted something to read. I asked for a prompt and was pleased he chose something outside my comfort zone. From that prompt, Salvagium was born. My first attempt at horror. I loved it. I let my imagination run free! I used everything I’d learned from an associate in criminal justice and a bachelor’s in psychology to write something that my friend loved. I took it a step further and had it professionally edited. And then a step further and submitted it for publication. Though I’m still waiting on a reply, I’m confident that, even if the first submission doesn’t take, I’ll find a publisher that will love it.
In the meantime, I kept submitting micro fiction and flash fiction. I was published twice in the UK with another in the process of being published. I proudly submit my work. I share my stories. Today, I even posted a micro fiction publicly in a contest that allows for voting and comments. I took my passion for words and made my dream a reality. I can now say proudly…
I am an author.