Dream a Little Dream....
I've always been a dreamer, my imagination works so well that I can live in entirely different worlds and lives in my head at any given time. This can be both a good and a bad thing. My imagination is so effective that I can overthink and worry with the best of them. They say worry is a misuse of imagination, which is why it takes concentrated effort to steer my imagination into positive areas of daydreams and creating characters and stories in my head rather than worry about real life negative things that could happen.
I have so many different characters and stories that just pop into my head all the time, and always have. I like to make up stories in my head about interesting people or places that I see. I like to wander through cemeteries looking at headstones and make up lives for the people in them. That was something I did often as a teenager. I carried a notebook in hand everywhere I went. I pretty much journaled my entire life from the ages of about 11 until my mid 20's, slacking off a bit there and only doing it every once in a while instead of daily at that point. But I still try to journal now and again. The fun thing is that I still have all of these journals and notebooks and can look back inside the mind of my 13 year old self, or my 20 year old self and see the growth and evolution of me.
This is also all probably why I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a writer. I can remember being in the 3rd grade, at George AFB Elementary School in Victorville California (I was a military brat, we moved around). We had an assignment to write a report, we got to choose who we wanted to write it about. I picked Walt Disney. We also had to make it into a book, we had cardboard that we covered in fabric to make our book covers. We created the illustrations and introduction pages. Even though it was a report and not a story, after creating a physical book out of it with all of the components of a real book, , I knew one day I wanted to really make books and fill them with all the stories and characters that ran through my head.
If I don't shut it off, which sometimes I just have to or I won't get anything done, I can constantly have these stories and characters running through my head. I have notebooks full of different book and story ideas, character sketches, blips and blurps of ideas that I get. I have dozens of half finished novels. One of them was near 80,000 words that I had worked on for years, when my hard drive crashed and I lost it all. Talk about soul crushing. I still have the hard drive. I've been told it can probably be retrieved by the company that makes them, at a cost of at least $1500 or more. So, it sits there and waits. One day after I sell a book or two maybe I can get it back and finish it.
Even though I had the dream and desire to be a writer since elementary school, it wasn't something I fully realized until a few years ago. Life just always seemed to get in the way, and maybe my amazing procrastination skills played a part as well. You have to be highly motivated to write stories and books, without real deadlines or anyone making you do it. I kept thinking, this moment in life is too busy, I'll wait until I have more time. Raising kids, going to college, working full time, there was always something that required more of my time than my writing ever did. It was more of a hobby.
But, you have to jump in somewhere. After my divorce a few years ago, which is one of those events that completely changes your entire life, I decided now was the time. I also knew that I needed to take baby steps. I wasn't going to just jump into writing and sell a book instantly, but I could still be a published author. I started writing for an online magazine called Naked City OKC first, then I started writing for Red Dirt Nation, and then I started writing for the Midwest Beacon Newspaper. Finally, after thirty some odd years of deciding that some day I would be a writer, I was finally making money as a writer. A dream realized, no matter how small of a start.
J.K Rowling is my hero really, when it comes to looking up to someone who is doing what I want to do. She was a divorced, single mother on welfare, jotting down the ideas of Harry Potter onto a napkin on the subway. When she did finish the first book, it was repeatedly rejected before finding a publisher who would give it a chance. She never gave up, despite her circumstances, despite her obstacles. Now she is a millionaire with an entire Harry Potter world that she created in her mind. She was a billionaire, but she's given so much of her money away to charities that she lost that status, endearing her even more to me. Every time I watch a Harry Potter movie (I am a huge HP nerd, I own it) I get goosebumps and this heavy butterflies feeling in my chest, just knowing that all of it exists because she created it in her mind. I want to do that, I want to bring the fantastic stories and characters that live in my brain to life and give them to the world. The very idea makes me deliriously happy.
One step at a time though. I had the idea of writing the History of Red Dirt Music book after realizing that it hasn't yet to date been recorded thoroughly in a book. I am hoping to be done with it this year. This is only the first book idea I have on this subject. I have a few other books about things in the Red Dirt world that I want to write, and then I want to jump into all of the fiction books that I have partially started or are just in my head. There's quite a few of them. I love the idea of starting with the Red Dirt stuff, not only because of my love for it and my interest and passion surrounding it, but also because it already has a built in audience. I won't have to hope someone will take a chance on my writing, which I will have to do with my fiction eventually. It gives me an already built stronghold into the writing world, letting me put my name out there as an author and hopefully giving me credibility so when I do publish a fiction novel, people will remember me from the non-fiction stuff and give me a chance to prove that I can write fiction as well.
One day, when my kids are all grown and gone, I want to be in a position in my writing career that I can travel around the world, staying in random beautiful places for a month here and there as I write. I can give lectures at local colleges, do book signings and maybe teach special creative writing classes at high schools and colleges. All the while continuing to write books. That's my dream.
Even this website is an extension of that dream. Being a freelance writer is great, but I also wanted to have the ability to write about whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Which is why I created this website. I also love Oklahoma and all that it has to offer, and I think we need more of these kind of websites that promote all things local, to help people find things easier and to help support the amazing things we have going on in this state. It also of course gives me a platform for my writing. The next step with this website it to start selling advertising, so that it can earn an income, and I can continue my baby steps at getting paid to write.
No one accomplishes much of anything all on their own, and I am thankful for all of the people and opportunities that have been put in my path that have helped me work towards my goals and dreams. Which includes you right now. Yes you, reading this. Without a reader, what good is a writer? So thank you. Thank you to every single person that has come to this website and read an article. Thank you to every person who encourages and supports me in my endeavor to capture the history of the red dirt scene. Thank you for the people that are excited about my projects. I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams.
Until next time, I will continue to dream a little dream....
~ Tonya , Red Dirt Queen of Hearts.