My dining room table was my first writing station, mainly because I was confined to the first floor of my house at the time and that table was the only flat surface which could accommodate my wheelchair, once we raised it 2 inches with blocks under the legs.
Five years later, I’m out of the wheelchair and getting up and down the stairs quite nicely on an artificial leg, but I’ll still sit down there nearly every morning for the views out the windows and the easy access to the coffee pot. These days I’m rewriting my first complete manuscript, which I first wrote there after the flying accident which sent me into early retirement and thus started my e-book writing career, Moons of the Sierra Maestra.
Moons was never meant to be an e-book. Rather, it was a naïve attempt to publish a novel the ‘conventional’ way, which never quite got off the ground. As soon as I finished the first draft, I promptly sent all 975 pages out to my first readers. Big mistake! But much to their credit, three of my friends actually read the bloated tome and provided positive feedback, even though by then I knew, as well as them, that it was awful.
It was my late friend and mentor since high school, the prolific (72 titles in print!) author Roy F. Chandler, who recommended that I forgo agents and publishers and concentrate my efforts on e-books. I have no regrets in taking that advice to heart. I’ve learned a lot and derived a great deal of satisfaction from writing and self-publishing five little books, rather than spending lonely years grooming one massive manuscript for multiple submissions to agents and major publishing houses. How many potentially marvelous novels have languished as rehashed manuscripts until abandoned or taken to their graves by frustrated authors?
So this is how we write today. We do our best work and publish it ourselves. We learn to control our alliteration and our similes and we allow the dialog to carry the narrative. We try to write simply and truthfully about things that matter. We read voraciously. We jump through the same hoops as the fortunate few who learn the craft by writing for newspapers and magazines before tackling their novels, and although we may never realize the same profits or fame, we are published authors.
That is why on the very same day that my rewrite of Moons of the Sierra Maestra is finally completed, I’ll publish it on Kindle and move on to the next project.