In November, 2009, after reading regency romances by the dozen for years, I did just that. I poured my heart onto the page in a fun book that swept me away so much that I completed the first draft in only one week. After many revisions, that book eventually became How to Ruin Your Reputation in 10 Days, but it didn’t come easily.
Back in 2009, at age 19, I poised on the cusp of launching my publishing career. I followed every plot bunny to its conclusion and drowned in the number of manuscripts I finished as I learned through writing (not editing) how to become better at my craft. I wrote young adult novels, fantasy books, romance novellas. Short stories, books that were way too long, I did it all. And then, as I slowly got around to editing these projects, I slowly put them on submission.
I tried publishing in young adult, as I was still on the far end of that age bracket. At that time I didn’t know how to market, let alone how to reach my audience. The book flopped. I signed another YA with a publishing company that turned out to be a scam. I made a lot of rookie mistakes, I learned from them, and I tried again.
I published in erotic romance with a lot more success. Not enough to quit my day job, but enough to encourage me. But life has its ups and downs, and during one of the lows I got too discouraged. It was compounded by a person whose opinion I trusted telling me over and over again that I didn’t have it in me to succeed in publishing. That I couldn’t even handle the stress of writing. Over and over again, until eventually, I believed it. And I quit.
I couldn’t quit writing—that I did in secret—but I quit publishing. I compiled all of my works in progress into a zipped folder titled Burn, Baby, Burn. After I emailed that file to myself because I am obsessive about backing up my projects, I deleted it from my hard drive. I wrote by hand, if at all. For over a year, I didn’t finish a project. I sank into a deep depression.