We don’t always end up where we think we’ll be. Remember those five-year goals from high school? I thought I’d be a children’s book writer, or an artist of some sort. But life—that chaotic storm cloud of uncontrollable happenstance stitched together with lightning decisions (big and small)—took me on a journey I didn’t expect. Five years after graduation, I was not in a creative field. Most of the 2000’s were a poverty-stricken struggle. Those ideals of being a creative dried up on the back burner. Surviving paycheck-to-paycheck with a baby to feed consumed our lives.
It wasn’t until I was 32 years old that I finally had the time and mental capacity to pursue that old dream of writing a children’s book. In 2012, fifteen years after making that original five-year goal, I self-published Drips under my given name, Leigh Anne Lagoe.
From there, my path shifted. My picture book plots turned too dark for children, and I lost my way. The passion wasn’t really there. I explored a variety of genres, but nothing kept me moving forward. It wasn’t until I tried my hand at horror, that a path scythed clear before me.
Horror made so much sense. I grew up loving the genre and seemed to gravitate toward the macabre. I don’t know why it took so long, but when I realized this, the stories bled out of my soul and seeped into the recesses of my keyboard, and I couldn’t stop.
2017 brought a few short story acceptances and my first self-published viral apocalypse story, Fair Haven. In 2018, three more short stories were accepted for publication.
For the past few years, I’ve stuck with writing. I attended workshops, I devoured on-writing books and articles, joined a critique group, underwent a mentorship, and still experienced rejection after rejection. Even when I wanted to give up and suffocate beneath the mountain of rejection letters, I pushed on. My insufferable addiction to storytelling (and perhaps an unhealthy need to succeed at everything I put my mind to) has led me to this point at the close of the decade.
In 2019, I had eight short stories accepted for publication. Six were published this year. Two will be released in early 2020. As a celebration of the hard work, I’ve compiled a collection of my short stories from the past few years. Lucid Screams will be released February 28, 2020. I’m excited and terrified.
I’m so dang proud of myself for sticking out the decade with writing. I’m 40 years old and I don’t know where I’ll be in five years, or in another ten for that matter, but I’m fairly certain I’ll still be writing horror. I’ve got a lot more ideas sizzling on all burners and I’m excited to see what I do with them and where they take me. Maybe I’ll end up with an agent and a book deal. Maybe I’ll keep slinging short stories and self-publishing a novel. I have some short-term goals and some ideals of where I’d like to be. We’ll see what the storm clouds bring and what I do with them. Hopefully I can thunder through the Twenties with some more successes.
Cheers to persistence and finding your way, whatever way that may be, and however far (or short a distance) it takes you. It’s all about the journey, even if you don’t know where you’re going.
Here’s to another decade, my friends.