At one given point in my life I absolutely had no direction let alone any set plans what I wanted out of life, so I worked blue collar jobs. Yes, I had them. Through the time of darkness, no direction as to working a retail job I wrote and wrote quite often. Morning, noon and night to be exact in journals, notebooks, a diary and several spiral notebooks. Mostly they were testimony’s of my days and of poetry. I didn’t utilize it though and only read my poetry to my dearest closest friends which are few in the hand basket. Yep, absolutely only a handful. I liked it that way. At one point they asked me, “Why don’t you try and publish these writings? “There good Shellie.” I didn’t really think of it until later on when I began submitting my poems into some poetry contests. I was stunned they were even published in a book of poetry. I can’t recall the name of the book though. All that time working a part-time retail job I felt stuck as if my life wasn’t going anywhere just living day to day at my job. I had to work to make money to pay my bills which are few, yet that is life though. There’s no way around it.
The first time sharing my writings were in poetry community groups on Google plus and there of. It was weird doing such a thing, at the same time I thought maybe it could help someone make the connection and relate, and not knowing that they were. After some time I met a songwriter out of Texas who adored my writing style. I incorporate life experience, thoughts, feelings and emotions physically speaking in my writing, to also guidance from the Lord. I have a strong sense of faith in him and found myself becoming much more spiritual than religious. I attended church and became regular even though there were weekends I simply didn’t want to go. I was nudged. My friendship with Michelle Brumble emerged and we collaborated together on a song. It was so nice. She eventually mentioned something about e-book which I knew nothing about. I soon found myself researching what self -publishing was and came across some small press publishing company’s I submitted to, and let me just say these were rough draft manuscripts of my book The Poetry Diaries. I did all the art work from cover to graphic design which I did by hand and my own photography. Two small press publishers wanted to work with me however, it was me to hand over my copyrights and pay up to $3,000 to publish with them. I walked into a lawyers office to seek for advice. He told me that once I give my consent to one of the publishers would be a risky move, and frankly forking over that much money would mean giving up my original work. To this very day I’m glad I took his advice as it made clear sense not to hand over my original work, what I wrote for more than 15 years. It’s all mine.
I went through the working grind with each single passing day, working and non working days to get any resources I could on self publishing and through all of it I became a regular blogger on country music as my love for music intertwines quite a bit with my writing style as well. My life in words is a country song. Social media became all the rage and I knew nothing all while writing daily, working my job and submitting poems in poetry contests. I had a lot on my plate. It came to the point my book work intertwined with operating and owning an official country music blogging website. It took me on several adventures. I worked tiredlessly 24/7 online and offline. I didn’t have a life of my own.
I realized my book was more of my focus although the music industry business was taking off more than my book. I began to reconsider at times what I wanted more, and I wanted both. It was a balancing act between the two. I made it work for awhile. I was scheduled some speaking events to promote my book and did a few book signings. The people I met through them made an impact. It inspired them to look at their own lives. That was the moment I knew this was my grand purpose in life and that was and is my writing. What I write isn’t sugar and all fluff, it’s all me.
In time I became aware of what self publishing really is and the work that goes into it. I made the right decision to go that route. I don’t run on deadlines, I have complete control over editing and proof reading, marketing and promotion. It’s a lot on my plate, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Over the course of 5 years I managed to self publish 5 books from an 8 part series which floored me considering it only began with one. The Journey Collection series is it in a nutshell, my life’s journey. I found myself doing more speaking events and in time was asked at church to read, although it wasn’t my books. I’m not really a public speaker. Once I did get up to the podium, opened my mouth the nerves were lifted. Anyone who’s ever done a speaking event will tell you nerves and stage fright happen.So, I’m not the only one.
NOTE! If you’re a writer looking to publish your work and consider to self -publish you won’t become an overnight success. Many who publish independently struggle financially, and I am one of many. Don’t expect to make millions. I’ve talked with some self published authors who let the whole idea get to their heads only to make millions. It’s a huge let down. Greed is ugly in the publishing world. Do it for the right reasons and not to make a huge name out of yourself.
I write for therapy, I write for passion, and I write to be a voice for others. That is my grand purpose in writing and as a self published author. It is just who I am. People drive me to write, and people inspire me as well. I came so very close to giving it up until someone highly influential in my life reminded me of my passions in life, to even a highly supportive relative who nudged me why I wrote to begin with. Yeah, that was it and now I’m fully a full time writer, author and balancing life all together.
I self published for me and not for anyone else and to try and make a name for myself either. I self published for you the reader, aspiring writers. That is what it is and who I am, and my books mean something. It’s substance, real and authentic. You get me out of them and see yourself through it.
Here are links back to The Journey Collection Series post as to my recent blog on how to improve your memory on reading and writing.