|Posted by armylaundress on February 21, 2016 at 7:55 PM|
What a ride it has been! I have always liked writing. I remember in 7th grade writing some long, convoluted story about traveling the Great Lakes with my pet monkey. I do not recall the name I gave the monkey, but I do recall getting an "A" on the story.
My "real" writing career began in the non-fiction world. Because I worked in the pet industry and taught dog obedience classes for the local kennel club, much of my writing was about dogs. I also wrote about horses. I had bylines in some of the more popular magazines like Western Horseman, Dog World, Dog Fancy, and more. There were a number of smaller perioldicals as well. I wrote informational pamphlets that I gave away at my pet shop on many aspects of pet care from housebreaking your puppy to setting up a fish tank.
A mid-life career change put a stop to my writing for a bit. Although I had a degree in Agricultural Communications from the University of Wyoming, I wanted something that would allow me to stay in Laramie, and give me a steady paycheck. I went back to the university and got my teaching degree. I did not have much time to write as a fledgling teacher, but the interest was always still there. I had been researching army laundresses for years. Friends kept encouraging me to write a book. I finally decided the time was right.
I submitted the manuscript to my first choice publisher, High Plains Press in Glendo, WY. (University of Nebraska was my second choice, with a couple of others also on the list). Fortunately, Nancy Curtis was interested. After a couple of rewrites, she offered me a contract. More rewrites followed. Now, two years later, Soapsuds Row - The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses 1802-1876 is about to launch.
Was it hard work? Yes. There were times I really did not want to sit down and write, but I made myself do it.
Did I get tired of rewrites? Yes. However, every time I rewrote something, it came out better.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Hopefully, there are a couple of fiction books waiting to be put to paper.
What would I tell someone who wants to be a writer? Just do it. Don't let anyone discourage you.
My writing journey has been a long one, with ups and downs and twists and turns, and even a couple of dead ends. But I can't help but think, the best is yet to be.