Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Connie Flynn. Starting Over . . . and Over

Life is what happens while we're making other plans . . . John Lennon

As we move through life making plans then dealing with what actually happens, we often fail to notice how frequently we start over. That got me thinking about my writing career, the one I decided to pursue after I got to work one day and learned my boss and all my peers were being laid off. I was the only one left and not long for that world, either, I realized, so I began looking for other work.

That took me to fiction writing, novels actually, and I wrote a romance that was sold to Harlequin Superromance, the second publisher I'd sent it to. I was elated. I was on my way. Harlequin was,  of course, going to buy everything I wrote, and when you stop laughing I'll tell you what this recollection brought with it.

First, I think I always wanted to be a writer, I just didn't know it. Back in the fourth grade I had this wonderful inspiring teacher who encouraged the class to write fiction and share their stories. I wrote about Suzie and Jimmy, siblings who solved mysteries and had a black cat that had undergone a white hair examination in order to become a Halloween cat. Anyway, I quickly became a superstar in this small fourth grade class and the other kids couldn't wait to read the next Suzie and Jimmy installment.

Everyone, that is, except my best friend, Bonnie (isn't that cute, it rhymes) who told me without any sugar coating that she didn't understand why I kept writing about these same stupid people. Apparently, I didn't understand either because I don't remember ever writing another story that year.

Fast forward twenty years on an afternoon when I just finished reading a dark Phyllis Whitney gothic romance. The story grabbed me and when I finished I decided I wanted to write like that.  Typewriters weren't household items in those days and the personal computer was just an spark in the brains of future Microsoft founders, so I grabbed a spiral notebook and put it all down by hand. I wrote. I crossed out. I scribbled over old writing, I strived to write new . . . and better. Eventually I decided my writing was crap. Who was I to think I could ever write like Phyllis Whitney?

It never occurred to me to ask myself where that voice came from. Echoes of Bonnie I now think, but the page binder got stuck in a bottom drawer, not to see daylight for nearly ten years when I moved. While packing, I found the binder, started reading the pages – no easy task since the handwriting was often illegible – and discovered the writing really wasn't all that bad.  It needed rewriting, yes, but it wasn't crap.

Which circles me back to the beginning of this blog, when my working life was thrown into "starting over." I started over once again, still using a binder and ruled paper. Then I bought an almost leading edge personal computer, (256k of RAM) although I didn't spring for the hard drive. I got an employee discount from the company that would later lay me off.

That's when I really started over. I went into writing novels for the money (okay, you can laugh again) but it soon became a calling and that's when I realized that the rest of my life would be a series of "starting over."  I wrote ten traditionally published novels and each book entailed "starting over." Publishing began changing in the blink of an eye. Editors jumped ship with nowhere to land, expectations changed and the bean counters finally got control.
That's when I realized that independent publishing was a world where I had some control and I met the wonderful Ink Jockeys and together we are helping each other thrive by publishing independently. Life remains a series of "starting over." Only now I wouldn't have it any other way.



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From the Author:
The books of Connie Flynn, a bestselling, award-winning author of ten novels and several short stories, are getting some positive attention from eBooks readers these days. She writes in several genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy and romantic action/adventure, contemporary fantasy, and mystery/suspense. Look for several more new releases from her in 2013.


  1. Like you, I started telling stories early. But since I was dyslexic, I acted them out w/ dolls rather than writing them down. Funny thing, they were always romantic suspense stories. Doll captured by pirates and rescued by handsome hero. Well, I had heroine dolls. The hero was always in my imagination.

  2. What? No Ken or G.I. Joe? Well, you've got one now. Thanks for stopping by so early to share your own experience.

  3. No. I may be so old that they didn't have Ken. And it was more fun just speaking the guy's part. The women were Sandra Sue dolls, if you know them. A little taller and thinner than Ginny Dolls. Shorter than Barbie, and no big boobs like Barbie.

    1. LOL! LOL! Okay, I've stopped now. I don't know Sandra Sue, but I sure know Barbie. What I don't remember is if she ever had a normal physique.

  4. What an inspiring story! I wrote poetry as soon as I learned my letters. I didn't start writing stories until I was 20. It's interesting to see how different writers came to writing. I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You're so welcome, Dana, and thanks for the kind words. So you're a poet. I love poetry, although the only form I've mastered is haiku, which I dearly love.

  5. And I was the exact opposite! I always had a special love of words, but I never wanted to put them together into a story. The outdoors beckoned and I responded, creating worlds as I played, but never thinking to write anything down. That took a little longer to develop, into adulthood. It was only then that the magic happened...and I started life over as a writer. Great post, Connie!

  6. Oh, you're a Tomboy. I always wanted to be one but I was too chicken. Glad you finally got into writing and thanks for the positive comment.

  7. Okay, Connie. Here's the weird thing--my Twilight Zone moment. I had a forth grade teacher as well who inspired me to write. I mean, that's where it all started. In my case, he wrote the first few paragraphs of a story set in an enchanted forest and the students did the rest. Everyone would read their 'next installment' aloud, the class would vote for their favorite, and on to the next. I wrote 20 of the 25 installments, and that was it. I was in love. Lucky for me, I never knew a Bonnie. Great blog.

  8. Okay, get this--
    I loved any writing assignment teachers gave us. In 8th grade, we were asked to make up a "Greek Myth" and write it down. The first sentence of mine was (yes I still remember it)"Many myths of the great Greek gods and the wonders of Mt. Olympus have been lost in the countless ages since they were first told. I LOVED that sentence. Then I had to explain where THIS myth had been for 5K years. I was only 13 and already in love w/ my golden words.

  9. Not fair,Ruth. Now I'm thinking about Greek gods while I'm trying to proof read a manuscript that's due on Friday.