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I didn't get your name at the art show.
He also serves as a reminder that we all have time, and time to spare, to craft the writing career that we want.
The topic came up following the popular "Getting Your Foot in The Door" panel.
Unlike trying to become a master at baseball or ballet, writing can be done at any age. At SpoCon, I met amazing young women, not yet out of their teens, who decided to self publish their first novels and are now talking with agents who want to represent their work. I also met equally amazing gentlemen in their sixth or seventh decade who are still expanding their writing careers through acquiring rights to their previously published novels and reprinting them as ebooks for their fans.
In between the teens and senior citizens were those who are forging careers as writers of time traveling romances, novels with tie-ins to popular games, webcomics, and so much more.
Truth is, there is no one way to get your writing career started. Everyone knocks on a slightly different door and responds in a slightly different way to the opportunities presented. I spent several years writing and selling nonfiction projects. I still do this.
But, around 2002, I decided that I wanted to tell stories too. I started by entering in several contests (any that didn't charge a fee). Won one, lost one, and both experiences led to selling stories and novels. It's been a very interesting and fun eleven years building up a portfolio of published fiction.
Self-publishing through ebooks wasn't an easy option then. These days I might try that instead.
The door you decide to knock on might be something completely different. Like any traveling salesperson, you have to knock on a lot of doors to find that first sale and even more to find that first success.
My best advice at that SpoCon was "Knock. Listen. Walk." If someone opens a door for your writing career, listen to them. They may have some very good advice that will help you find the next door and the next. Be ready to walk (at least digitally) to many more doors. Take advantage of the new technology. Keep sending out submissions to the traditional markets too. All of these combined may be needed to build your career.
Success doesn't come overnight. But Tick Tock reminded me, there's plenty of time to find the right door.