When I started this journey in the January of 2009 I had no idea where all this would take me. I knew that I loved reading and I’d loved books since I could read, but the idea of writing one seemed impossible. How could I possibly finish something? I’d never finished anything in my life. I was always one to give up on something when it got too hard. I’d either give in or get out.

Come August of 2009 though something in me changed. I don’t know if it had to do with knowing that life is short or if the thought of not leaving my mark on this world had me worried but I wanted to do something about that. My only regret was not doing it sooner so my grandmother would have seen it before she died.

I remember that night all too clearly. I was horribly upset because my computer had gotten a virus and all I could do was pace back and forth until those pesky viruses were erased one by one. Once the deed had been done and my computer ran as a well oiled machine again, I sat down on my bed and stared at the blank Word document for what seemed like an eternity.

Then it started… my journey into writing. Shadows: The Story of the Kayouta started taking shape and I knew exactly where I wanted it to go. I wanted it to be the story of my teen years. As time passed though, and my grandmother leaving us took over my life, something in me stopped too. I just couldn’t write anymore. I took on a permanent writer’s block. Even the fan fictions that I’d worked on stopped too. It was just entirely too much for me to do anymore.

As another year passed, my life took one drastic turn after another and there I sat once again, staring at my document for Shadows. It was now or never, I’d told myself and before I knew what happened, I wrote nearly twenty thousand words in less than two weeks to finish what would become my first book. I cried as the last few words were placed on the page.

The tears flowed again once I finished The Tarot Diaries: The Fool and Peach River Acres. Then the other night, re-reading Peach River the tears flowed again. I’d never found myself to be so emotional like I feel when I put the last word on something that I created myself.

I never realized how difficult the process of writing could be until I had to tackle it myself. I will say that I’ve had the most amazing group of people on this earth backing me throughout this entire process. My editor “E” from Rebel Ink has been amazing. She’s put up with a lot from me. I know that my first drafts always look like poo on a stick but she had such patience with me.

My BFFs Katie, Candice & Jess have always looked forward to reading anything I jot down on paper and they have no idea how much I enjoy their enthusiasm. There are so many people I could thank but I’m so scared I’d forget someone that I just want to say everyone who’s ever tweeted me or send me a message on Facebook asking about the upcoming works, you’re amazing in my book.

Never let anyone tell you this is an easy task. They are either not trying hard enough or are lying. I’ve put so much blood, sweat & literal tears into the books I write and it’s never an easy process. There are first, second, third and fourth (sometimes more) edits. Cutting, adding, cutting again and doubting yourself is one of the parts of this and trust me the self doubt runs rampant when you aren’t sure if you should be doing this. However, when you see the finished product, it is so worth fighting for.

As I sent back my (hopefully) last edits for The Tarot Diaries: The Fool to my publisher today, I felt a sense of completion and happiness. I know this was worth it. If I only sell 5 books or 5 million copies, knowing that I wrote something that people could one day read makes me happy. It was never about money or fame. It was always about accomplishing something finally for once in my life.

I say this as I start back college on Monday. I’d all but given up on my degree but I figured if I could write a book, or two or twenty, I could go back to finish school. From now on I’m not giving up so easily. I’m not allowing myself to stop something when it gets too hard. The rewards for seeing it through are always so much better than the alternative.

Ironically, the same year that I began my journey as an author, my sister gave me a ring that had an inscription written on it that I try to live by to this day:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…”

Never be afraid to take that first one.