L. E. Doggett is the author of more stories than I can count, and (I can honestly say) a great guy.
He’s had a darkest hour or two in his life, and I’m very glad he agreed to share them here with us. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in his story.
I am a writer, therefore I write. I am not a writer because I have stories and novels published, although I have one pro story, two indie novels, and an unpaid very short story out there.
I am a writer because it is part of my make up.
The same is true for every writer. However, I haven’t always written.
The first darkest #1 – not writing
NA is a young woman with a special ability – she is a mage. She uses the ability to change matter and energy to help those in need, even while she has to learn to deal with her own many emotional issues.
It’s the hidden ones that give her the most problems but what is a freak to do?
At the same time NA has been placed into a situation that goes beyond any previous case or adventure she has been on. She has to stop another, more powerful, mage from carrying out a plan of vengeance that would kill many of her friends.
She thinks she was chosen for this by mistake, but it’s her job now, and she has a special geas to prove it.
You might say that I have had two (or maybe one and a half) darkest hours.
Way back in high school, if not before, I wanted to write. I even dabbled at times, including writing in my head.
But other desires such as getting a job, getting married, and all that got in the way.
I didn’t really write for some fifteen to twenty years – a very long dark hour.
Now and then I thought of it. Twice I tried to write a story but kept putting it off until I forgot about it because it was too much work. I mean Work.
Sometimes I would write a story in my head, but I was too busy and too involved with other things to really make a go of it.
Eventually though, it started to come out more and more:
- I have a real live floppy disk with over half of a story I wrote while I was supposed to be learning typing on the computer
- I wrote more stories in my head while waiting in line
- I wrote some tales on five by seven notepaper at work.
Finally, I saw Star Trek Strange New Worlds Three – I think it was three – and realized it was a contest for non pro writers.
I had to enter – not think about entering, or maybe enter – I had to.
That broke that darkest hour and opened the door. Reopened, maybe I should say. I wanted to write and sell stories.
I wrote a long novel and went on to enter other markets for short stories.
I learned a few things and found various writers on AOL. I found a group dedicated to Strange New Worlds that Dean Wesley Smith was more-or-less leading.
He was the main editor for the Strange New Worlds contest, and a writer who liked to share what he knew about writing.
That was some seven years ago. I write every chance I get now, and have learned a good deal about the craft.
Darkest hour #2 – frustration
The second darkest hour, and this one was darker, was a couple of years ago.
I didn’t really stop writing, but I was greatly frustrated with all the rejections I kept getting no matter how much I learned about the craft of writing.
Nothing showed in any way that I was improving.
I felt like ranting and venting at times, and this was after my one pro sell.
I finally said the heck with it and stopped sending out stories. I even sent out a note with my last set of stories stating this to some editors I had been sending stories to for a couple of years.
A couple sent back hand written notes I didn’t expect.
Sheila Williams, executive editor for Asimov’s, basically said that she understood my frustrations and added that she didn’t mind reading my stories.
That helped, and so finally I decided to write a story for me.
I ended up working on it to incorporate what I had recently learned about writing.
I sent it in <shoulder shrug> despite my intention to quit writing; another carefully laid out plan lost, yet it was enough to keep me going.
Since then I have given up writing for a week to a month, a few times, for the same reason.
Doesn’t happen often but it is frustrating when I see no sign that I am improving no matter how much I have learned and try.
One thing I have learned is that almost every famous writer has given up writing at least once. It seems to be the nature of the beast.
I should add that the one pro sell was to Strange New Worlds – the very last one. “A Taste of Spam” was an honorable mention. I like to say it was the fourth best story in that volume.
I have seven novels written, and as I said at the beginning, two are Indie published. Another one is close to publishing. Four still need to be revised.
Plus, I have over 175 stories not counting all of those I wrote for Strange New Worlds, a few written that are not for prime time, and another small handful of stories written for practice.
That makes me a writer.
L. E. Doggett (A Taste of Spam) lives in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California, the small city of Clovis to be exact. He lives with his wife of 37 years and a daughter of 26 years, along with two cats who adopted them. They attend a dynamic, hopeful church. Louis is a blue collar worker with a collage education. He is an aspiring pro writer (he has been a nonpro writer for quite a while). He has out two Indie published books and a story in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Ten.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out L.E. Doggett’s published works, leave a reply, and maybe visit some of the other posts in this series, such as Sabrina Chase’s inspiring Darkest Hour.