Friday, February 14, 2020

Confessions of a Part-time Writer


Fantasy has always intrigued me. From the time I was a little girl, I had an extremely vivid imagination. Stories, of any kind, were an integral part of my adolescent life. As I grew, my love for stories flourished and blossomed. I experienced them in any and every way I could until I was bursting with creativity and a zest for life. Then, like everyone eventually does, I became the most dreaded thing in the world: an adult.

I've pretty much held a full-time job since my senior year of high-school (I don't want to admit how long ago that was, but it's been quite some time 😀). Adult life sucked brought with it a lot of growth and new experiences. I married, had kids, honed my carrier and built a good life. Stories became something I enjoyed in the form of movies and TV for many years before I finally got back into reading.

Something about immersing myself in a book feels more luxurious than watching a movie or binging Netflix (Although I do enjoy this, too--Pretty Little Liars, anyone?). I began writing part time in 2009, and I vigorously researched writing rules and how to obtain an agent. To be honest, it's all quite a blur. Finally, I had what I needed to write a novel, and I did. I researched and researched some more on how to get this glorious thing I'd just completed into the hands of other people who really love fantasy. I absorbed so much information from any source I could think of, but I wasn't sure what to do with my beloved novel. Then, I lost my six-year-old nephew to a tragic accident. His loss catapulted my desire and enthusiasm to live. So, I took a leap of faith and dove into the deep end of writing life in 2010. My entire experience would take pages and pages to explain, so I'll spare you the many sordid details. After much deliberation and rewriting my first two books completely, I decided to self publish.  Boy, was I in for a ride. Self publishing was a pretty new thing back then, and I missed a lot of important opportunities because of my full-time job. I've regretted not taking advantage of some of those things, but to date, I'm actually happy where I am in my part-time writing career.

So here comes my confession: I actually like having a full-time job, which allows me to write part-time. I enjoy my career. I am a professional medical documentation and coding consultant with the largest healthcare organization in Utah. I make a great living, and I truly love those I work with. So why do I still write, then?

My job is fulfilling and fun at times, but it doesn't completely fulfill my creative desires. That's where writing comes in. Like Captain Kirk from the Starship Enterprise, I get to explore strange new worlds...seek out new life and new civilizations...and boldly go where no (man: hahaha) has gone before. Pretty cool, right? I think so.

Each time a new story hits me, the excitement of discovery returns. Writing is truly like exploring a new world. Meeting a character for the first time is like meeting a new friend. For me, characters come with their stories, and they're the ones who tell them. I'm merely a conduit unless I allow my fears to block the story. I honestly don't think I've experienced true writer's block. I've experienced fatigue. Writing uses a lot of emotion, and most days, I enjoy experiencing a different life on the page.

Do I ever want to be a full-time writer? Maybe. If the circumstances were right, but for now, I'm content in writing when I have the time and energy. How about you? How do you experience stories? Do you write, read, watch, listen? Stories are all around us, and they have a lot to teach us if we'll listen.

Until next time,

Christie Rich
Part-time Writer

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