Monday, May 9, 2016

Guest Post by Barbara Underwood - A Writer's Journey

Hello! Today I am excited to welcome Barbara Underwood to the blog for a guest post. She's been nice enough to share with us her writing journey. 

A Writer’s Journey

Some people might wonder whether someone is born an author, or if it is a career choice, like any other job. In my case, I believe it’s a combination of the two, perhaps leaning towards the first case, namely born to write.

It started in 4th grade when my class was given the project to write/draw/make a children’s book. Although mine was probably not spectacular in any way, I clearly remember writing my first book with much excitement and joy. And then, a couple of years later in 6th grade, we again had a writing project. Instead of a short story, I wrote about 50 pages, prompting my teacher to comment at the bottom: “I can see we are going to have another author.”

At that age, however, I had no concrete plans for my future, and despite enjoying English class and getting good grades, I thought my future career(s) would lie in far different directions.

During my teens, I found myself wanting to write about an episode in my life, and embarked on a few such projects without ever finishing them because High School became more demanding, and the concerns of everyday life took over.

Somehow, in my spare time and without being fully aware of it, I was always writing. If not to dozens of penpals all over the world, then in travel journals which I showed my friends. It struck me that many of my friends commented, after reading my travel stories, that “you should write a book!”

When I heard this for the umpteenth time, I suddenly perked up and thought “Yes, why not?!” Still in my spare time, after work (and also during work) I did a correspondence course in writing, and my tutor, who was a former newspaper editor, gave me a lot of good pointers.

Finally, after completing the course, I had several short stories ready, but the market for them was rapidly shrinking. Two stories were published in literary journals with a very small readership, and I kept hearing that familiar phrase again: “write a book!”

So I did!

But even as I was writing, I still kept thinking that it was “just a hobby”, and “something I always wanted to do”. Getting serious about being an author and going through the publishing process was quite another thing. 

Going through that process, as well as on-going marketing and all the other things involved in becoming an author felt overwhelming, and it came down to one question in the end: do I believe in my own book enough to make the effort and sacrifice? Even though I hadn’t received much feedback (and I figured I couldn’t really trust the words of a few best friends!) I just had to follow my instinct and belief that my book was worth the effort. I had to have faith in it, and so I pushed on, and now I’m already working on the fourth book in the series while sales and readership steadily grow. I think I’ve made the right choice! What about you?


What an inspiring message! I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did and feel motivated to write, write, write! Thank you for joining us on the blog today, Barbara. I'm glad you never gave up on your books and I look forward to reading them!
- O 

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