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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Birth of a Writer...

Life for me has been a roller coaster ride in the last 20 years.

When I graduated from high school, some umpteen years ago, I didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At first, I thought I wanted to go to school for business management, then I changed it to journalism, then, I was going to go to DeVry Institute of Technology--changed my mind because my mother couldn't afford to send me, and I didn't want to overload her with that kind of debt being a single parent.  So, thus, I chose to go into the workforce.  I worked many jobs, retail, banking, insurance, back to retail.I remember talking with some friends in English class about this very thing, and I had quipped to them that I wanted to be the first Black billionaire.  Well, John H. Johnson beat me to that.  But I still think about it.   A layoff in 2003 from a major insurance company made me focus on something that I at the time...seemed radical.  Instead of just getting another job; I made the decision to write a book.  Yeah, I was serious.  After 10 years of trying this and that to occupy my curious mind; writing a book was a challenge, but something I knew was meant for me.  I had won essay contests as a teenager and people always complimented my writing.  The catalyst of me focusing on writing actually was thanks to an old fifth teacher, Mrs. Fowler, who complimented my writing after grading a book report.  An epiphany occurred at that moment.  This was the one thing I could do better than most. 

The premise of the book evolved from conversations that I had initiated on a popular discussion site.  Every member that I engaged in discussion, debate, disagreements, etc., all encouraged me to write a book.  A sixth sense prompted me to start saving some of the discussions.  At the time, I didn't know why.  But I saved many.  As I pondered what to write about during my layoff; an epiphany came to me, and I began writing.  I had to educate myself about a lot of things: book proposals, writing query letters, literary agents, etc., and a writer must also read.  I read so many books, dutifully researching as well as gaining inspiration.  Chapter after chapter, the book began to evolve.  I struggled with titles.  I sent out my first query letter--got rejected, then changed focus.  I debated if I should continue with the book I was writing at the time.  It was a book about my experiences working at a local bank.  The title was How to Kill a Flower.  An appropriate title, given the crazy experiences that I had there.  It's not easy being a professional when you're going through growing pains in full view of others who have to critique your performance.  I thought about it, and then I decided to look over some of the saved conversations that I had.  One topic caught my attention.  It was a discussion about Black men.  Hhmmm...writing about Black men would be more intriguing, but I didn't want to approach it from a cerebral standpoint; I wanted to connect with Black men and the only way I could do that was to speak honestly, but in a loving way about issues that are impacting them.  The title of the book that I chose was A Journey Into The Mind of a Black Woman.  An appropriate title, given the obvious.  I've always been curious about Black men, what they think, how they feel, what their real views are, etc.  All my life, I've watched them, studied them, and this book is my interpretation of how I see them and my reaction to them.  Well, I finished that book last year and I will be self-publishing it this month.

This was a leap of faith.  I just wanted to change my life...after so many setbacks and detours when I was young.

It was never a goal to write a book that would be a best seller.  Frankly, the goal I started with and continue to have is for the book to reach its intended target.  The hope I have is that this book will change lives.

We'll soon see....

I encourage others to follow their dreams as well. You'll never know where they will take you.