If someone had told me three years ago that I’d soon be pursuing a career in writing, I probably would have laughed at them; And not just laughed, but with a knee slap and an eye roll served on the side. Me — write something? Me, write a book? I’m sorry . . . did you say I’m going to have a column? Suuuure, I am. Sure.
I spent most of my time in the 2000’s working in the Entertainment Industry, but mostly behind the scenes. I’ve been everything from an assistant for a few celebrities to assisting a few producers as well. In 2007, I landed the role as an Executive Assistant to the CEO and VIP Liaison for a corporation here in Los Angeles.
Then, without warning, I got the pink slip. I was laid-off two weeks before Christmas. I wanted to throw up. My world was flipped around and it was not pretty where I had landed… My reality. I had no income and no severance. No. Way.
It’s funny how things happen, isn’t it? Especially the moments that we just don’t expect. Lost and confused as to what I was going to do (or deciding what I “wanted to be when I grew up”), I ended up on St. Kitts, a small island located in the Caribbean. My nephew was there finishing up vet school, so I sublet my apartment in LA and took off, mon. I lived on an air mattress in his living room for the next nine months.
It was there on the island I started to write again. This time, instead of writing for marketing purposes or drafting press releases, I was doing it for me. I started really slow (she said sarcastically) by setting a goal to write a romantic comedy script. Guess what? I did it! It still needs a little work, but I did it. That step lead to classes online with UCLA Extension, which paved the way for a column that I write for the Frederick News-Post entitled “Anne In Progress” and a blog “Life My Way” (you can also link to them at www.AnneKemp.com – stop by and say hi!). There’s also the book that’s currently being shopped to publishers. It’s been quite the journey.
Writing Chicklit is a no-brainer to me. When I glide into a bookstore (yes, I glide) the first thing I think about purchasing is the newest Chicklit book that’s hit the stands. Books have always played a big role in “Anne’s Fantasyland”: that’s the world I have loved disappearing into since the Sweet Valley High series was introduced to me in middle school. Stories about love, loss and love again! More please!
While writing my first book, I began a love affair with the whole process itself. I enjoyed the moments when it was all coming together, when words would flow and my fingers would skip across the keyboard for hours. I also learned to cherish the times it just didn’t work one bit and I had to re-work things. This coming May 7th, I get to sit on a panel for a book fair in Burbank, California and talk about the pre-publication journey and the process thus far. I’m excited for the opportunity to share how it’s been a roller coaster ride but, that I’m loving every minute of it.
I survived some days on coffee alone and spent a few sleepless nights hunched over my computer while meeting deadlines. My fingers would be cramped and my feet were curled under me falling asleep. Some days I would forget to get out of my pajamas. I know it sounds odd, but I was in heaven. I was writing about love and I loved what I was writing!
One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Those are the truest words for describing how we should all view life. Take the risk or jump at the chance. Being laid–off forced me to reevaluate what I wanted and needed. It was a personal check-in like no other, because now I’m hooked. I’m a writer!
Take your first step, whatever that means to you. Hit that word goal, query that agent or begin the first page. I feel that everyday is about taking small steps toward our goals, as writers. So, go ahead, take that first step.
We both know you won’t regret it.
As a blogger and columnist for the Frederick News-Post, Anne Kemp has earned the nicknames “Late Bloomer” and “Fair-Weathered Romantic”. She lives in Los Angeles, California and is a member of the Romance Writers of America, LARA (Los Angeles RWA Chapter) and Chicklit Writers of The World. You can keep tabs on her and her writing at www.annekemp.com.