My Life as a Writer
by Nancy Carty Lepri
My biggest dream has always been to become an author. An avid reader since a toddler, books have been a constant, a friend and an escape. I cannot comprehend living without the written word. To me, reading is second only to breathing. From cereal boxes to fiction, I devour everything and anything I can get grab. I read in the morning while eating breakfast to at night before going to sleep. Some of my favorite genres include contemporary women’s novels and thrillers.
I guess this love of books is what propelled me to become a writer. The fact that I am always talking, thinking and plotting does not take away from this ambition. I have a need to create and to put into words feelings, thoughts and desires.
To me, books should present a diversion from the stresses of everyday, a way to relax and unwind. We are filled with horrors around us. Just pick up a newspaper or turn on the nightly news and realize crime is rampant. Novels can carry one away to another place, to forget, for a short time at least, all that is going on in life. Any type of reading stimulates the brain and give a change of pace. Children require fantasy and play, and adults also need a break from reality.
An author’s career is lonely and often times tedious. Writing requires discipline and perseverance, a thick skin and the knowledge of the difficulty of getting published. For every wanna-be writer, many give up or fail. I kept trying with the burning desire to succeed, and I could not go through life wondering "what if." I needed to try.
My first writing experience started as a freelance reporter for a small, now defunct, tabloid. Almost twenty years ago, the newspaper, “The Tightwad Times,” was introduced to southeastern Massachusetts where I had lived. I submitted two articles for each of the three months the paper was published. The first month, I was assigned to cover a bridal show and write an article on how to prepare an elegant, yet inexpensive wedding. Some other commentaries with the exception of one were written from telephone interviews. Two local Cape Cod newspapers gave me assignments for various topics, and realized this is an excellent way to get one’s feet wet as a writer. I found reporting is gratifying, but recognized this was not the type of writing I wanted to pursue.
My goal was to write fiction. Whether creating short stories or "the great American novel," I enjoy make believe and conjuring up fictitious people and tales about their lives. Though I prefer genres geared to adults, I decided to try crafting a children’s chapter book. I first started working on this in 1995, writing by the seat of my pants. After reading the extremely rough draft, I recognized the text was a mish-mash of information haphazardly thrown together which was too much for children to digest. I broke up the ideas, planning to turn them into a four-book series.
Unfortunately, life took over with the need to shelve the work for a while. After my husband and I moved to North Carolina, I returned to reporting, receiving several assignments for the “Wilmington Magazine” and two national and international food-trade magazines, which proved to be monetarily rewarding.
Nevertheless, I kept returning to the children who wanted to have their story told. The desire to polish and submit the manuscript for publication. I fortunately become a member of a wonderful critique group that offered support as well as excellent suggestions. Tiny Angel, a chapter book geared to ages 8 – 12, was accepted by Guardian Angel Publishing and released in November 2009. The sequel, Tommy’s Amigo is almost completed for submission, and to this, I hope to add two to three more to this series, though all books can stand alone.
Meanwhile, four unfinished adult contemporary novels are calling to me, and I plan to get to them one day. Between writing, reading, reviewing and being with family I enjoy a busy and fulfilling life. I may never become well-known, but my dream is satisified. I encourage anyone who desiring to write to “just do it.”
If you enjoyed my article, please check out my website: http://nancycl.webs.com and feel free to make a comment.