For Cupala, it's been a ten-year span of craftwerk, some "dreadful picture book manuscripts," a few sales and other shenanigans until she wrote TELL ME A SECRET -- her YA novel that was published last month.
So I wanna know: how did YOU build YOUR writing chops? What experiences became the brick and mortar of your writing career to this point?
My story? Starts commonly enough: Wrote my first "book" when I was five. Yeah, that Newbery star was called THE GIRL WHO LOVED TO DANCE and you can bet your ass it was five electric pages of crayony drama.
Flash-forward to a performing arts H.S., where I skipped many rehearsals to write really shitty stories in the computer lab. Somehow scored college scholarship to play jazz piano. Dropped out (kids, please don't try this at home; if you do I'll come after you with spoons deadlier than whatever The Creeper used to cut Justin Long's eyes out) cuz the writing, it called me.
Several years lata (say it like Chris Rock, come on, do it, lata), I placed a few pieces in some national mags, became a newspaper staff writer, wrote first MS, took senior copywriter position and then managing editor gig, killed first MS, built a roster of clients.
Today, I'm a freelance copywriter tromping through a second novel. After 10+ years of wood-sheddin', I'm inching closer to the right track. But I'm still not there. Gah, the work. It makes me philosophical.
So I want to hear from you. How did you sharpen YOUR writing chops?
(Man, this woulda been a fun blogfest :/)