I tell people that I've been creating stories for as long as I can remember, and that's true. My twin and I were always playing our 'games' as kids - recreating the TV shows and movies we saw, as well as creating new stories of our own. So you could say some of my first 'writing' was fanfic. I think that's true, though, of every writer back to the beginning of time - they wrote based on what came before as practice for their own work. Those stories were never enough, though. I was always daydreaming, the people in my head talking to each other.
My first book was non-fiction, though, and self-published even then. *grins* It was about dinosaurs. I put the book together and even did the illustrations myself. I was eight, and I got an 'A'.
I wrote my first fiction novel at thirteen or fourteen. More fanfic. I'd seen a movie - a knockoff of Lord of the Flies, I think, because it had girls - but no one in that movie acted like people I knew. It went in a drawer.
My next effort came at seventeen, and made me realize that what I really wanted to be was a writer.
That wasn't to be... or at least, not for quite few years. (I'm not saying how many!)
I wrote one story, sent it to an anthology, and collected my first rejection. Discouraged, I put the idea of writing away...until one story demanded that I tell it. Someday I may rewrite that one, but about the time I finished it Hollywood came out with a similar story. (It would take a while before I understood that you just write the story - no one will bring the same perspective to it.) I also realized that life was passing me by, that my chance of living my dreams was fading away.
Then another idea hit - what would eventually become The Coming Storm - and the sequel - as well as another book, a mystery I called The Last Resort that was loosely based on real events in my life. Other stories followed, but it was submitting The Last Resort that got me published.
I was attending a local writer's convention. A small press was opening a new line of books that went outside of their standard erotica offering, and they asked for a full (a complete manuscript). It disappeared, I never heard back from them about it. In the meantime I got this || close to signing with an agent, but that fell through. Agents and publishers were equally discouraging about my fantasy novels - no one would take one that big from a new writer.
That made me think of that publisher who had asked for the full manuscript. Their usual line was erotica. I took a chance. I read a few and knew I could write them...and they were fun to write. I wrote two, had ideas for more, but submitted the two I had completed. And they took them. Both of them. That success - and that first check - made me realize I could indeed make it as a writer.
In the meantime, I kept writing because if there's one thing I've learned is that there's never a better time to do something than now.
For some reason I always felt driven to write as much as I could. Then I discovered I have advanced liver disease. If I can't get it under control, my next best option is a transplant - if one is available.
So if I have any advice for new writers, it's this. Write. Write it now. Tomorrow is unknown, there is only today.