Most authors love to read. I'm no exception. I love to read and have since I was a child. Just thinking of Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, and the Babysitter's Club makes me warm with nostalgia.
My late grandmother had shelves filled with Harlequin romances. I think they were Harlequin Presents, although I couldn't swear to it. My mom and aunt read them too and they would pass books by the bagful back and forth. When I could get my hands on one, I would sneak off with it and spend the afternoon reading. That's how I became a 3rd generation Harlequin reader.
My love of reading led my imagination to create stories of my own. When I told my husband, who writes as a hobby, about the stories in my head, he said, "Why don't you write the stories down?"
From the moment I started to write, I felt something click into place. This isn't to say that anything I wrote that first year (or second) was publishable. But I persisted. Every day, without exception, I wrote. Even if all I could manage was a few paragraphs, I put words on the screen.
I read books about writing. I read articles on the internet about writing. I read agent blog. I read editor blogs.
Most of all, I kept writing.
I revised my work. I would delete 10,000 words at a time and start a chapter over again. I tried my hand at paranormal, historical, and contemporary romance. When I noticed all my work had heavy suspense elements, I realized I should write romantic suspense.
I still didn't have instant success with the first romantic suspense novels I wrote. But I loved it. Rejection couldn't stop me. I kept writing. I joined RWA. I joined online writing groups. I found a couple of critique partners. I found the eHarlequin writing community. I entered a couple of contests. I got good feedback and bad feedback about my work. Even when it stung, I kept writing.
I submitted my books to Harlequin. I got rejections. It didn't stop me from submitting new work.
I kept writing. Revising. Polishing. Writing. Revising. Polishing.
I don't know how many millions of words I've written, but I will finally be published in 2012. And now, I going to keep writing because I want to STAY published.