For years, I only wrote nonfiction. I kind of fell into it, and quickly discovered that I loved it.
My first venture into book writing began when I created a coffee table book, Being a Bride. I designed it around a book I’d purchased at Christmas called How To Be Santa – a cute story based around fun photographs of – you guessed it – Santa Claus. I picked it up at my local Pottery Barn and had this instant idea – whoosh! – fly into my head.
“I could do this. I could create a coffee table book just like this. I could use all of the photographs we’ve taken of our fantastic clients, and create a story built around the feeling women carry with them from the time their little girls, the feeling of Being a Bride.”
It took me almost a year, but I got the job done. And I loved my book, Being a Bride. It’s still sitting on my shelf, something I’m very proud to have created.
A couple of years later, I was teaching a class at a photography convention and a publisher approached me and asked about publishing a book. I said yes, and Studio Without Walls was born. This was a nonfiction designed to help other photographers understand the business side of photography; a guidebook for creating a studio you could take anywhere, thanks to the wonders of the internet. This was back in the 90s, when the internet was still brand new. My goal was to try and take the mystery out of being online, and help people understand how to make a photography business a truly successful business venture, not just a hobby.
That led me to start up a website with a similar theme. I created eight more nonfiction books on business and marketing, specifically geared towards photographers.
I didn’t stop there. I’ve kept writing over the years.
I’ve ghostwritten three books in other genres.
I’ve written three books on small business marketing.
I’ve published three books on women and reinvention. I have a couple more coming out this year.
In case you’re not adding it up, that’s nineteen nonfiction books total, twenty-one when I release my latest books within the next month.
Yep, I know a lot about writing nonfiction. But I’ve always had this desire to expand my writing into fiction as well. I like the stories I share in my nonfiction. But I wanted to add more detail.
Along came my desire to write fiction …
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but there’s a big difference between nonfiction and fiction.
With nonfiction, you write stories to make a point. You teach. You share. Your goal is to help better the reader’s life in some tiny way. And you do that by giving examples and walking them step by step, to the end.
But fiction is an entirely different concept.
Fiction is about pleasure. We derive pleasure from reading about someone else’s life, however unreal it may be. It helps us forget about our own problems and challenges, if even for just a moment.
Fiction is about taking us to a world outside of our own. We might experience things from a different culture or a different perspective. It’s about dreaming, eyes wide open, and allowing us to “feel” something we can’t in our own lives.
Fiction is also about inspiration. If you can get into the head of someone different than you, for even just a moment, it might allow you to dream bigger than you’ve ever dreamed before. It teaches. It improves lives. It helps you see yourself in a new light.
Before I started writing fiction, I studied it. I read books like:
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- How To Write Bestselling Fiction by Dean Koontz
- Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
I’m kind of a book nerd that way. If I want to dive into something new, I find the top books on the subject and sit down for a reading marathon. (You too?) 😉
It took me over three years to get my first novel out. (I’m not counting my “dream time”, the time I added it to my New Year’s resolution lists without doing anything with it.) I started writing my first book on a summer trip to Europe. I wrote. I wrote some more. I did research. I edited. I completely switched genres. And finally – finally – I hired an editor, hired a cover designer, and finalized the manuscript to publish to Amazon.
That was seven books ago.
In addition to my nineteen nonfiction, I currently have seven romance novels published to my name. Twenty-six books to my name. So far.
This year I have a lot of writing planned and finalized. I’m releasing several nonfiction, at least three romance, and maybe a surprise or two along the way.
A woman asked me the other day why I write.
I write because it’s become a part of me. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. I can’t imagine my life without it.
When I sold my forever home and decided to slow travel the rest of my life, I liked writing so much, I put it at the top of my goal list. I told my husband: as long as I can write, I’ll love anywhere.
It’s not the writing I love as much as I do the storytelling. By telling a story, you can change the world, one person at a time.