Guest Post – How Books Gave Me a Career
Books can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some people books are a form of escapism, a way of learning new things or the answer to solving a problem. Ask the person what books mean to them and you’ll be sure to get dozens of different answers.
I’ve been reading books from an early age. One of my earliest memories is of reading books. I used to love reading books about animals. Being an only child, books gave me an escapism. I loved reading about different worlds and seeing places through the character’s eyes. When I was five I started writing short stories – which were mostly about my pets. I especially liked writing about my border collie, Jack and my hamster, Hammy. After reading so much I think writing just came naturally to me.
As I got older books became more a part of my life and I started reading different genres, fantasy always being my favourite genre. When I left school at thirteen due to health problems and became home-schooled I didn’t know what to do with myself. Going from school to home schooling was a big change. Reading definitely helped me cope with the sudden change. I did lose out on the social aspects of school due to always being off sick all the time or going to the hospital to have more tests done. But this also provided me with the time to actually sit down and write.
I mainly started writing short stories in my late teens or short novels that rarely ever got completed. Although I read a lot of different genres including history, romance, crime and adventure fantasy was the genre that always drew me in both the reading and writing. Since there are no limitations with what you can read or write when it comes to fantasy.
After my grandparents bought me a writing course for my 16th birthday, they encouraged me to start pursuing writing more. I did start the course by found the concept of writing professionally pretty scary so I only did the first assignment and then let the course just sit there for a few more years. I did carry on writing and indulging my love of reading over that time. But the course sat there forgotten. I did try going back to a few times but never drew me back in.
Over the past few years as my health declined, reading and writing became an outlet to help with chronic pain and illness. During that time also went to college and started studying law but because of my health problems, I reluctantly had to stop pursuing my dream career. For a while I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, working in law had always been my main focus. This inspired me to go back to the writing course and start going over the assignments again. Luckily the course provider was happy to let me start doing the course again despite the number of years that passed since I’d first gotten and started it. I had a great and encouraging tutor who gave me some great feedback on my work and where I was going wrong. During that time, I still carried on writing novels but doing the writing course introduced me to other forms of writing. I even started writing non-fiction which was something I never imagined I would do. I always thought I couldn’t write non-fiction and I would be bad at it.
After some encouragement and nagging from my grandparents, I finally decided to go ahead and complete my first proper novel and see about getting it published. At the time, I knew nothing about publication or how books even got published. Luckily, I had a chance to meet another author who mentioned to me about self-publishing. I’d never even heard of self-publishing at the time I didn’t really know what it entailed. One of the hurdles on my road to publication was that typing on a computer became very hard due to having very painful hands so I switched to using a voice recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. Without that, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I do.
I decided to have a go at publishing my first novel myself. I’m a very independent person so self-publishing was the right route for me. Despite a lot of ups and downs with bad editors and bad formatters, I published my first ever fantasy novel in March 2015.
After completing my creative writing course, I later went on to study copywriting, proofreading and social media marketing through the College of Media and Publishing. These courses really inspired me and gave me the confidence the start working from home. I love being an editor and helping other authors to have their work looking the best they can be. This helped me realise that I want help other authors like myself and teach them about the business side of publishing and being an author.
So books can really help change and shape a person and even give them a career when I thought I would never have one.
Tiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.
She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.
Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance during this time.
She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.
After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.
Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.
Find Tiffany on:
@tiffanyshand on Twitter