How I Got Started as an Author: Natalie Wise

How I Got Started as an Author: Natalie Wise

4 minute read

I say it all the time and I'll say it again: I started writing before I could write. I was an author from the time I could talk. I would dream up stories about bunnies and horses and tell my mom to write them down for me. When I got a little older, I created tiny books on all sorts of subjects, from random scraps of paper, stapled together. A sign went up on my door with some "creative" business name, hours, etc. and each book was 5 cents or 10 cents. My parents and brother were my only customers. I continued through school, reading just about every book in our town's library and school library, writing whenever I could. I graduated from college with a degree in creative writing and marketing, worked for an author for a few years, then went to Dartmouth College for my Master's degree in poetry. Phew, it all sounds so simple in a few sentences doesn't it? But becoming an author is not a simple or quick thing.

Alongside my writing, I was a passionate and intrepid baker in my teens, being a top 10 finalist in The National High School Recipe Contest, winning scholarships to culinary schools, and being the youngest student accepted to the French Pastry Institute. My plan was always simple, and always the same: To own a chain of bakeries that had shops attached that sold all of my favorite things as well as the books I would write. Then I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant when I was 18. I was truly devastated and didn't bake for many, many years (this was before there were cup-for-cup mixes and blogs!). So writing it was. And a lot of sad poetry. One of which was published in The New Yorker.
 
My almost-fiance (we had a ring on financing, so it wasn't entirely official) Jason died very suddenly from a pulmonary embolism when I was 27. It destroyed me and yet, in that funny way life has, launched me forward. I hate to say that, because it makes it sound as though his death was in some way good (it was not. in any way), BUT God works all things together for the good of those who believe in Him (Romans 8:28) and I choose to believe that and to see it. I grew in life experience by about 20 years instantly and sat with grief for a long time. i took a job I was only vaguely qualified for, and in the process, was encouraged to submit a book proposal, so I did.
 
Happy Pretty Messy is my first published book as an author, and I call it my "heart book" because it is ME, in book form. If you know me, you can read the sentences in my voice, I'm sure. There is a lot messy, a little all over the place, but happy, always, and hopefully something that brings joy to your life and helps you feel the deeper parts of life (both good and bad) more deeply, which is the stuff of poetry. Then there's coffee...and style...and vintage things, and thrifting...there's a lot. I am a lot. I'm not for everyone, and that's okay. I have good reviews and I have bad reviews of all of my books. Someone told me the pink binding of the hardcover Happy Pretty Messy changed their life in a Barnes & Noble, and someone else thinks I stole all of my ideas from writers I've never even heard of, let alone read. It's all happy pretty messy. And to think that the pink binding changed ONE person's life and gave them hope....that's what it's all about. I choose to believe that and to wave my banner over life: You are beautiful, you are brave, and you are enough. I say it for myself, and I say it for you, too.
That's enough for now...

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