Swoon Author Jen Wilde: A Series of Surprising Events
I didn’t always want to be an author. In fact, up until my mid-twenties, it wasn’t even on my radar. Sure, I thought it sounded like an amazing job, but it seemed so out of reach that I never even entertained the idea. I didn’t think it was something I’d be good at, so I didn’t even try.
Growing up, I was always creative. At school, I was the artist, the girl who could draw and paint and take photos. I loved it, and visual art is still an important part of my life. But it became such a huge part of my identity that I didn’t allow myself to explore other possibilities. I was the artist, and that’s all there was to it.
Then, in my early twenties, I went through a very tough time. I was living overseas, had just lost my job, fell desperately ill for months, and found myself in a deep depression. One night, I was sitting alone on my couch, feeling like I was going to explode. I pulled out my laptop, opened a blank page and started writing. I let out everything I’d been holding inside. And what I saw on the page surprised me.
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That was when I first discovered the power of writing. After that night, I spent the next couple of years writing a personal blog. Even with this newfound love of writing, I still didn’t think I could write fiction. The idea of writing a whole book seemed completely impossible. But I’d surprised myself once before, and decided to see if I could do it again. I ended up with a 30,000 word YA novella and an excitement that I hadn’t felt…well, ever. I fell in love with writing in a whole new way.
I posted my story to Wattpad and to my delight, people loved it. The support and encouragement from readers gave me more confidence, and I started working on the sequel. Then the third book. Then completely new stories. I found myself totally obsessed with the worlds I created and falling head over heels with my characters.
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After a while, I started to dream about being published. I dared to imagine seeing my books on shelves, in people’s hands, and on bestseller lists. Again, I surprised myself by self-publishing my first series.
Then I found the We Need Diverse Books and #OwnVoices movements, and they showed me how I had been limiting myself and my stories in ways I never even thought about. I realized that even in my own stories, I didn’t see myself. People like me didn’t exist in worlds that I myself created.
The next story I wrote would become Queens of Geek. And the whole experience of being published with Swoon Reads has been better than I could have ever dreamed. From the editing and revision process, to the social media and promotional sides, it’s been a ride. And with every step, I’ve surprised myself more and more with what I can do.
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And in a couple of weeks, Queens of Geek will hit shelves. I’ll be meeting readers and doing a book signing right here in New York. And while I have no shortage of nerves about the big day, I’m also incredibly excited. I’m ready to surprise myself again.
I wanted to share this with you because I know how easy it is to doubt ourselves, especially when it comes to our work. But please, don’t give up. Your voice is needed now more than ever. What seems impossible today could be your reality in five years. You might just surprise yourself.