Believe it or not, writing romance right now isn't my first experience with professional writing. I had my first professional publication in 1995 (though I'd had professional performances of my work - a couple plays and a screenplay - prior to that). It wasn't fiction, though. It was a trivia/history book on the Oscars, called - sadly enough - The Oscars Fact & Trivia. Unsurprisingly, it tanked, lol. But I got a taste of what it was like to do publicity then, and had a few book signings and radio interviews that were kind of fun. I've wanted to do something creative professionally since I was 14, actually. Back then, though, I thought about acting. Then it switched to filmmaking. Then marriage and kids happened, and I shifted my priorities again.
What pushed me in 2005 to give it a go again was a number of factors. First of all, my kids were getting a little older. I had more time on my hands. I didn't have any family nearby, but Craig and I had agreed that we'd like one parent at home full-time while the kids are young so I didn't want to go back to work outside the home yet. I also saw people I knew getting involved, which is always encouraging. The part of the Buffy writing community I hung around in was always hugely supportive of each other's skills and dreams.
I had sadbhyl to cling to while we tried navigating the e-waters together, but I think things really took for me when I hooked up with pepperlandgirl4 in spring 2006. In spite of knowing of her before then, we'd never really talked or been involved in anyway prior to the wickedverse. (And wow, that was two years ago?!? It just doesn't feel like it.) We started tagging together, then writing, and frankly, she's the spine and thick skin I don't have. I would never be able to weather a lot of the rejection writers have to go through without her. I have the self-confidence of a gnat sometimes.
But I stick with it because I *love* to tell stories. I have since I was 4 years old. Writing is really my addiction. And writing professionally has the potential of giving me the biggest audience. That's really what it comes down to. That's what I remind myself when I think I suck and I should just quit - which is often, just ask Pepper, lol. I *need* a creative outlet. Fanfic was terrific for me while the show was going and right after, but without another fandom to fall into - Buffy was really an anomaly for me - that well dries up. So I do what I have to in order not to go crazy, lol.