A couple of years ago, I was getting ready to take a roadtrip when I discovered that Felicia Day had written an autobiography. Seeing that the audiobook was almost the length of my drive, I grabbed it and on that trip I listened. She was already an actress I liked, and I was excited to hear her story. After all, this was the point where I was really starting to embrace my inner nerd and she was known for embracing her weird.
After listening to her and hearing the similarities between our stories, I realized something. If she could make it, then maybe there was hope I could make it.
So how does one make their way into this field?
You do what Felicia Day did, and I try to: forge your own path, create your own place and don’t settle until you found it.
1. Find What Works for You
There are thousands, if not millions, of writing advice books, blogs, magazines–all of them telling you their thoughts and opinions on this craft. Anyone and everyone can tell you what works best for them. But you have to figure out what works best for you. That’s one reason I like the premise of this blog. I’m more or less telling you my thoughts and musings week to week with the intention that you know that that’s what it is.
I can tell you a lot of things about writing. But I can also tell you this. I’m still figuring out what’s best for me and sometimes it varies project to project.
2. Don’t Settle
Write what speaks to you. Chances are, it will speak to someone else.
Don’t let what you write be influenced by what “experts” say is selling, or won’t sell, or what they think is the next big thing. Here’s a fun fact that I don’t mention often these days, when I first started writing more seriously, I thought I was going to write Young Adult. I’m still not opposed to the idea of revisiting that idea some day. When I wandered into the field of murder mysteries, I honestly didn’t expect to find the home I’ve found in this genre. But if you’re not embracing what you love to write, and are doing it because someone told that something was “in,” then you are failing yourself and your potential. That would be settling.
But, both Felicia Day and I have learned that things don’t always go according to the plans we make for our lives.
This is going to be one of those times where I’m very honest with you all. Over the last couple of years, I’ve struggled with figuring out just what it is I’m supposed to be doing.
Ultimately the dream, the goal, is to be able to write and what not full time. But until M.H. Norris can pay the bills, Mary Helen has to somehow. And while it may seem odd to refer to two different sides of me like that, sometimes they do feel miles apart. Maybe that’s part of me learning to “embrace the weird” and not stick to the status quo. Figuring out how to make the two mesh a little better. If you haven’t had the chance to read Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) by (or listened to her read the audiobook), that is something I suggest you pick up and read.
Especially, if you’re like me and wondering where your place in the world is. Maybe her story can encourage you like it did me.
At Awesome Con last weekend, I had the privilege of finally meeting Felicia Day and I told her how she had been an encouragement to me, and that even though I was still trying to figure it out and find my way–her story encouraged me that I would. figure it out.
Let me leave you with her advice.
She told me to always be proactive, to try new things and to always be doing something.
So, what did my meeting with Felicia Day teach me about writing?
It told me to keep doing what I’m doing and to find my place in the crazy world of publishing. Felicia Day has seen the good and bad sides of the internet and I’ve seen the good and bad sides of the publishing industry.
But I’m finding my place. Mystery Maven, Sci-Fi Sorceress. Award-winning author and co-host of the Raconteur Roundtable. Titles I never imagined holding but now are ones I hold dear. Embrace your weird. Even if it’s not the one you expected.