I’m a writer – how did that happen?

on Sep 11, 2014 by Kristen Slater

Hello everybody, and thanks to Michael for hosting me here today. I decided I’d take this opportunity to talk about how I ended up writing my story Working It Out, which was published this July. I’m also running a giveaway for a $10 gift token for Dreamspinner Press and details of that are at the bottom.

Five years ago I wasn’t a writer. I don’t mean I hadn’t published anything, or that I hadn’t finished anything. I mean I didn’t write (other than reports and stuff for work). I hadn’t ever considered it. Yet now I have a published story—and another coming out in December—and I write regularly.

So what changed? It was all down to a post in a forum I frequented. I clicked the link to list unread posts and, once I’d read the ones I was interested in and discarded those I wasn’t, there was this intriguing title left on the list. It simply said nanowrimo. Having no idea what this strange combination of letters meant, I clicked to read the post. The poster had just written, “Is anybody doing nanowrimo this year?”. Um, yes. Very enlightening (not). Since I’m an inordinately curious individual who just has to know things, I went to my favourite search engine and, well, searched. I got a link and clicked on it, to find myself on the home page for National Novel Writing Month. I stayed there for long enough to read what it was about, thought, “Oh no, that’s not for me; I can’t do that”, and clicked away from it.

That was in mid-October 2009. About three weeks later I was coming home from work. It was a long commute, two hours, of which one was spent on a train. I was doing the puzzle page in the newspaper. Almost unconsciously, I started writing in the little box they give you for scribbling in. Then I overflowed into the bottom margin of the page. And all up the right edge. And the top and the other edge. I turned the page over to find a full page advert, with lots of blank space, and filled that as well. I sat at the train station after getting off the train until I sort of wound down. When I got home I looked at it and thought I might as well type it up. I hadn’t expected it to be over 2,000 words. That was when I decided I’d try this challenge of writing a (short) novel in a month.

The next day I signed up to the site and, although I didn’t make the target of 50,000 words of fiction by the end of the month, I’d been bitten by the writing bug. I continued writing a bit more of the story I’d started. In January 2010 another story made itself known. It pushed and nagged at me; I wrote (by hand) whenever and wherever I had a moment or two, including leaning up against walls while waiting for buses. I got by on a frighteningly small amount of sleep, because I just couldn’t stop writing. I ended up with a long novel and had discovered that I loved writing.

Eventually I liked one story enough to want to share it, and so I submitted it to a publisher. They said yes and I couldn’t believe it. That story is Working It Out. If it hadn’t been for that forum post back in October 2009, I would never have found an activity that makes me feel better than I had in a long time. I owe the person who wrote it a big thanks. And that’s why I dedicated the story to Roxana Kiril, because she’s the one who got me started down this road.

Working It Out

Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

Find It

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About Kristen Slater

Kristen’s always spent more time living in the world inside her head than in the one outside it. Since she discovered writing, that world’s escaped from its confines and got mixed up with her real life. She’s not entirely unhappy about that. Particularly since she gets to admit that she hears voices and listens to them without having to worry about the men in white coats coming to take her away. Whilst never having any inclination to romantic relationships for herself, she nevertheless gets all misty whenever she sees a wedding or someone announces an intention to commit their lives to each other. It was kind of inevitable that everything she writes turns into romance, no matter what it started out as. A proud member of the Cloud Appreciation Society Kristen thinks there’s nothing wrong with living with your head in the clouds. (Oh, and for an explanation of the picture, see this post.)

Hello everybody, and thanks to Michael for hosting me here today. I decided I’d take this opportunity to talk about how I ended up writing my story Working It Out, which was published this July. I’m also running a giveaway for a $10 gift token for Dreamspinner Press and details of that are at the bottom.

Five years ago I wasn’t a writer. I don’t mean I hadn’t published anything, or that I hadn’t finished anything. I mean I didn’t write (other than reports and stuff for work). I hadn’t ever considered it. Yet now I have a published story—and another coming out in December—and I write regularly.

So what changed? It was all down to a post in a forum I frequented. I clicked the link to list unread posts and, once I’d read the ones I was interested in and discarded those I wasn’t, there was this intriguing title left on the list. It simply said nanowrimo. Having no idea what this strange combination of letters meant, I clicked to read the post. The poster had just written, “Is anybody doing nanowrimo this year?”. Um, yes. Very enlightening (not). Since I’m an inordinately curious individual who just has to know things, I went to my favourite search engine and, well, searched. I got a link and clicked on it, to find myself on the home page for National Novel Writing Month. I stayed there for long enough to read what it was about, thought, “Oh no, that’s not for me; I can’t do that”, and clicked away from it.

That was in mid-October 2009. About three weeks later I was coming home from work. It was a long commute, two hours, of which one was spent on a train. I was doing the puzzle page in the newspaper. Almost unconsciously, I started writing in the little box they give you for scribbling in. Then I overflowed into the bottom margin of the page. And all up the right edge. And the top and the other edge. I turned the page over to find a full page advert, with lots of blank space, and filled that as well. I sat at the train station after getting off the train until I sort of wound down. When I got home I looked at it and thought I might as well type it up. I hadn’t expected it to be over 2,000 words. That was when I decided I’d try this challenge of writing a (short) novel in a month.

The next day I signed up to the site and, although I didn’t make the target of 50,000 words of fiction by the end of the month, I’d been bitten by the writing bug. I continued writing a bit more of the story I’d started. In January 2010 another story made itself known. It pushed and nagged at me; I wrote (by hand) whenever and wherever I had a moment or two, including leaning up against walls while waiting for buses. I got by on a frighteningly small amount of sleep, because I just couldn’t stop writing. I ended up with a long novel and had discovered that I loved writing.

Eventually I liked one story enough to want to share it, and so I submitted it to a publisher. They said yes and I couldn’t believe it. That story is Working It Out. If it hadn’t been for that forum post back in October 2009, I would never have found an activity that makes me feel better than I had in a long time. I owe the person who wrote it a big thanks. And that’s why I dedicated the story to Roxana Kiril, because she’s the one who got me started down this road.


Working It Out

Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.


Find Working It Out:


About Kristen Slater

Kristen’s always spent more time living in the world inside her head than in the one outside it. Since she discovered writing, that world’s escaped from its confines and got mixed up with her real life. She’s not entirely unhappy about that. Particularly since she gets to admit that she hears voices and listens to them without having to worry about the men in white coats coming to take her away. Whilst never having any inclination to romantic relationships for herself, she nevertheless gets all misty whenever she sees a wedding or someone announces an intention to commit their lives to each other. It was kind of inevitable that everything she writes turns into romance, no matter what it started out as. A proud member of the Cloud Appreciation Society Kristen thinks there’s nothing wrong with living with your head in the clouds. (Oh, and for an explanation of the picture, see this post.)


Find Kristen Slater:


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