Wednesday, March 18, 2020

High Points

What moment of personal accomplishment within the writing realm made you most proud?

by Dietrich

I don’t like to think of it as pride, because that means a fall could come next. Let’s call it a high point. And as far as writing goes, the first of these came when I found myself in a position to leave the nine-to-five grind behind and finally follow a dream – to write full-time. It took a long time to get there, but it felt pretty good when it did.

I strapped myself in and started writing every day, and after a while there came the next high point; a screenplay I co-wrote with my talented wife ended up as a finalist in a writing contest. And that sure charged up the confidence. Then I tried some short stories and I was thrilled when the first was accepted for publication. And so, I just kept cranking them out, one short after another. I was doing what I loved, and I was thrilled with each one that found a home. 

Eventually I felt ready and I started working on what became my first novel, Ride the Lightning. And I enjoyed every inch of the way: writing, rewriting and editing. Finally I sent it off to a handful of agents and publishers, and I sat back and crossed my fingers. 

Maybe the biggest ‘writing moment’ came when I got that first YES from my publisher, ECW Press. Signing that deal took care of any self doubt that might have been left in the shadows, and more than ever I felt I was on the right track. That same novel won an IPPY award a few months after its pub date, and that felt pretty amazing as well.

Now I’m working on my tenth novel, and I still enjoy every step of the process. I enjoy working with my publisher, editors, copy editors, designers and publicity people. And I’m always thrilled seeing the cover comps and finally holding an ARC. 

And getting positive reviews after a book comes out can be right up there among the high points too. And so is getting positive feedback from fellow writers and comments from readers. And what author doesn’t like when someone comes up with a copy of their book at a reading event and asks them to sign it.

At the start, one aspect that was a challenge for me was that first public appearance, and not being sure what to expect from it. As it turned out, I discovered I’m quite the ham, and once I got started I didn’t want to shut up. Since the first time, I’ve jumped at the chance to take part in reading events, selecting an excerpt and sharing it with an audience. And the same goes for speaking on writers’ panels and giving interviews.

Those have been some of the high points along the way. I feel truly fortunate to do what I love every day, and here’s to plenty more high points to come.


Paul D. Marks said...

Sounds like a great career arc, Dietrich. Continued good luck and keep hamming it up :-) .

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Paul.

Brenda Chapman said...

Lovely post, Dietrich. Nice to have been on one of those panels with you a few years back.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Yes, that was a good. I hope we can do it again sometime. Thanks, Brenda.

Terry said...

I love this. It really does hit those hight points.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Terry.

Susan C Shea said...

Quite a trajectory, Dietrich. And for the record, I don't think you're a ham at all!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Susan.