Monday, February 8, 2010

How it All Started

People seem to think it's a little strange for a nurse to do creative things like write, paint, play the hammered dulcimer. But, I know a lot of nurses who do just that. In fact, the more you have to deal with life and death parts of nursing, the more you need an outlet for sanity.

Having said that, I've been writing and drawing and immersing myself in music long before I was a nurse. I've been a voracious reader since around the third grade. Loved to write essays in school (other kids hated me for that one.) I wrote book reviews for the library. I listened to musicals and Irish music and continued to draw.

Eventually, as an adult I began writing non fiction articles about medical subjects, pet care, music, clog dancing, anything I could think of. I also began writing fiction. Guess what? Fiction is harder to write and much more difficult to sell. I was well published in nonfiction long before I sold my first novel.

Non fiction is straight forward. You can research, outline, write and it follows logic. In comparison it's flat easier. But fiction is more fun. You can use your imagination, bring characters and places alive, create a world. Get lost in it.

If you go into writing for the money, go for nonfiction. You get to submit directly to an editor. Agents are not involved. When you get paid, you get paid, not your agent. But for a fun, exciting, addicting career, try fiction. Just be certain you have a high tolerance for frustration. I've enjoyed having my name on a nursing text book, my essay in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, but nothing is as thrilling to me as holding my novel in my hand.

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