Jessica Aspen Details Her Writing Journey

One of the marvelous surprises about becoming an author is the people you meet along the way.  Jessica Aspen is one such wonderful surprise for me.  She has kindly agreed to post here today about her writing and her growth as a writer.  Thanks, Jessica!

Thanks for having me as your guest today Elaine. I enjoyed writing about my transformational journey to author. I’ll be looking forward to responding to comments. Leave a comment today on On Becoming a Wordsmith and tell me about it HERE to enter to win prizes in celebration of the upcoming release of Little Red Riding Wolf.

From Writer to Author, the journey of a year

When Elaine asked me to write about my journey to being an author, I had to stop and think: when did this journey begin. Was it when I first discovered as a tiny girl that these marvelous books had people who wrote them? That was when I first remember saying, “I want to be an author.” What about when I finished my first story in fifth grade and my Language Arts teacher told me I was very creative? Or was it when I took my first real creative writing class in college?

Pinpointing a spot to start writing about my journey is tough. But after thinking about it I realized that all of these moments, while important stepping stones, were not where I started thinking about myself as an author. Even when I finished my first full length romance novel and sent it in my first query, even that wasn’t the moment. I didn’t start thinking about myself as a real author until I sat in a room with seven amazing women at Margie Lawson’s house and I realized that all of them were real authors, so I must be one, too.

At that point I changed. I had an “Ah-ha moment”. I went home looking at everything differently. It was like the time I first got glasses and realized the hazy green blanket on the mountainside could actually be seen as individual trees. I could see where I was going. That day at Margie Lawson’s I started my journey.

I went home and Gloria Richard shared her list from Sherry Isaac of all the things we needed to do before we got published. Buy business cards, get a headshot, get a website. None of the things that I had because: why did I need them? Only real authors needed a website. But I realized that if I wanted to become a real author, I needed to walk the walk. I got a website within a few months. The business cards took a little longer, and the headshot really took another year and a half. Something about getting a picture taken was tough. But one day I dragged my photographer husband outside and told him to shoot. And presto, I had a real author headshot. I was official.

From there the steps kept forming up like dominoes in a line for me to knock down. Start blogging, keep writing, formulate a business plan. I took classes and read books on how to blog. How to write a business plan. How to become a plotter (okay, that still is a WIP). Each step took me farther and farther along my path. And I started doing the thing that really makes you feel like an author: I started telling people I was writing.

By the time I submitted Little Red Riding Wolf to the editors at Passion in Print Press it had been a whole year since my epiphany. I was walking the walk, I was talking the talk. But I still didn’t feel quite there. In fact, even after my contract came in the mail, I continued to feel not quite there. Until the edits came, and I realized that I was just like every other author out there. I was in the process of defending my decisions or (more frequently) realizing that the editors were right. The negotiations for the final manuscript were upon me, and I was comfortable with being a real author at last.

I now say to people that I am an author. I carry my business cards and hand them out. And guess what? I’m no longer faking it to make it. I really am an author, with a real book coming out and maybe another on the way. There will be more ups and downs as I try to make it to the next place in my journey, a successful author. But I’ve taken the hardest step, the step of changing the way I think about myself. And isn’t that the journey we all take?

What kind of changes have you made in your life? Are you in the middle of changing who you thought you were? Does it require practicing being someone else in order to become that person? Or have you done this in the past? I’d love to hear your stories so leave a comment and once you do hop on over HERE and enter to win prizes, including Rocky Mountain Chocolate Gift Certificates and copies of Little Red Riding Wolf.

Jessica Aspen writes paranormal romance near the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Her books are full of elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. She loves dark chocolate, walking the dog, hiking and is obsessed with her new lap-top. Jessica is also obsessed with writing and learning about writing. She is a member of RWA, CRW, FF&P and PRO. You can find Jessica the first Friday of the month at http://ParanormalFreebies.com and most days during the week at http://jessicaaspen.com

Follow Jessica on twitter @jessicaaspen and on Facebook.com/Jessica.Aspen and don’t forget to enter her contest HERE to win novellas, chocolate and more!

Come into the woods with Little Red Riding Wolf, Jessica Aspen’s spicy paranormal novella due for release February 18th from Passion in Print Press. What if Little Red Riding Hood was a werewolf and a sexy forest ranger wandered into her woods?


Fraternizing with humans is taboo, but when feisty werewolf Red runs into hunky new forest ranger Evan Brewster, she jumps on the opportunity to let loose her desires. Evan is stoked when he meets the petite red haired hottie, and combined with his new discovery of wolves in Colorado, thinks his career and life are made. Then Red pushes him away, her hostile brother threatens his life, and things begin to spiral out of control. Caught between her sexy lover and her pack can Red trust Evan with her secrets, or must she sacrifice her human lover and her heart?

Jessica Aspen writes paranormal romance near the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Her books are full of elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. She loves dark chocolate, walking the dog, hiking and is obsessed with her new lap-top. Jessica is also obsessed with writing and learning about writing. She is a member of RWA, CRW, FF&P and PRO. You can find Jessica the first Friday of the month at http://ParanormalFreebies.com and most days during the week at http://jessicaaspen.com

Follow Jessica on twitter @jessicaaspen and on Facebook.com/Jessica.Aspen

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8 thoughts on “Jessica Aspen Details Her Writing Journey

  1. So glad we are on this journey together, Jessica and Elaine. Jess, I had no idea you were looking at me as one of the real authors in the room while I was looking at you thinking the exact same thing.

    Proclaiming the title, writer, makes all the difference in our perspective, and, I believe, our success. I’m even blogging about that tomorrow on Liv Rancourt’s site. I hope y’all will visit.

    On to the next blog tour stop, Jessie! I’m getting a little pooped trying to keep up with you, but wouldn’t miss your tour for the world!

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    • I’m pretty impressed at your stamina, Sherry, but not surprised. I truly feel that going to Margie Lawson’s that week changed my life and it wasn’t just the amazing deep editing from Margie. Every one of you that week gave me some precious gift. Thanks for everything. And thanks for keeping up on the blog tour. It’s taken us to some pretty interesting places!

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  2. Hi,

    I enjoyed your blog. Unlike yourself, I’ve always known that I wanted to be an author. My question was simply, was I willing to pay the price? I love books and read a lot. The hunger in me to begin my journey in writing overflowed within me, four or five years ago, and I knew the only way to quiet the raging storm within me was to write. So I started my first blog.
    Definitely, the desire to discover the me in me has helped me to stay my course, because when I write, I am happy and time just doesn’t exist anymore.

    So, I thank you for sharing a part of yourself.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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    • Thanks Patricia for sharing your story too. I love the way you describe it as a ‘hunger’ to begin. Sometimes the urge to write coming from inside feels just that way. Glad you decided to go with it!

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  3. It is a long self journey to the point where we think of ourselves as writers. I would say the same thing, Jessica. I first thought of myself as a writer when I attended my first writer’s conference and made my first agent pitch.

    Submitting work, revising for editors, dealing with rejection, you don’t do those things if you’re not a writer.

    We may not have met yet in person, but I absolutely think of you in my close circle of writing friends.

    I can’t wait to read Little Red Riding Wolf, Jessica!

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  4. Thanks Sharon,
    I wish I’d gone to the conference last fall and met everyone! I love my new circle of friends, people from all over the globe and from many different backgrounds. I never thought I’d meet so many true friends like this, over the world wide web. It reminds me of the days when everyone communicated with pen and paper and letters held the world together, before phones. And thanks for all the support in discovering myself as a blogger too. I never thought I’d be doing any of this in this way. The world is a strange and magical place and I’m thankful for all my writing friends. 🙂

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    • I wish you had been there, too, Jessica. I think that weekend was excellent and conferences are the best way to move your writing along, both inside your head and through meeting others in the business. I’m looking at attending the Historical Novel conference in London next September. Can you believe it? It will be amazing and I already know some great burgeoning writers who are attending. Looking ahead always!

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