Like most writers, I have had stories working their way through my head since I was a little girl. In some ways I never gave up my imaginary friends!
One of my 2 dads was a writer, a satirist. I always admired his ability to string words together in ways that would heighten their impact either dramatic or comical. My mom was the grammarian, the technician. Together they instilled in me the importance of strong writing skills. I used these skills through college and grad school and out in the working world all for practical ends. The stories? They got pushed to the back burner.
I’ve owned three successful businesses working first as a technical support person then as a web designer and later as an event manager. My writing has served me well in all three ventures but the stories got tired of waiting to be told. They became more insistent and I was finally at a point in my life where I could heed their calls.
The timing coincided with my youngest’s entrance into kindergarten and my oldest’s expanding adventures into the world of extra-curricular activities. The theory was I could write while the kids were at school and still be available when they needed me (good theory).
My first thought was to blog. I was going to be the next Pioneer Woman or Redneck Mommy. It didn’t take me long to figure out that a) that niche was filled and b)that wasn’t what I really wanted to be writing. Oh I blog, don’t get me wrong, but not for money. Purely for the enjoyment of it and to give the part of my brain puzzling over fiction a rest.
No, when I really sat down and thought about it. I decided I liked stories that were about people, about the mistakes people made, how they fixed them or how they lived with the hand life dealt them AND made the best of it. I like happily ever after. Romance seemed to be the genre that fit me best. Not all that surprising considering it is most of what I read these days.
I didn’t go down this road without some trepidation, believe me, I’ve heard it all, “Put ten women in a room with laptops and you’ll get every romance ever written.” “There all the same story repeated over and over.” What I’ve come to learn is that it doesn’t matter what genre we’re discussing, there are great books and there are AWFUL books. Still, romance books consistently do well on the major bestseller lists. After all these years, I’ve learned that I do much better when I follow my passion. Happily Ever After is my passion.
I was pleased to discover that I’m not alone in this passion. I started following romance writer’s blogs and interacting with them on Twitter. They were, welcoming and supportive. Despite knowing about Romance Writers of America, for a while, I took my time investigating them and even longer to join. Although romance is known as lighthearted and happy genre, RWA is all business. It’s starts with their mission. “Romance Writers of America is dedicated to advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.” If you play around, that’s fine, but RWA? RWA is for writers who are serious about getting published. To me, that is reassuring and I’ve been really happy with the available information and support.
My goal is to be a published romance writer. There, I’ve said in a public forum. My that feels good! I’ll be sure and keep you posted on my progress!
Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com. Her words have appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe.