James Slater serves as the Deputy Director for Corporate Communications for the Naval Sea System Command on the Washington Navy Yard in DC. He leads a team of communicators who respond to inquiries about the Navy’s ships and systems from Congress, the media and the general public. When not engaged in supporting the country’s sea services, he spends time with his family, his friends and the characters of his latest book. His favorite question? “What if?”‘
I spend a lot of time on the road. But not like you might think, because it’s pretty much the same road every day. I work in DC, and unless I’m out of town, I’m home every night. Also, I tend not to drive. Driving gets in the way of writing, which is what I’ve done a lot of this past year or so.
Once in a while we are faced with our own mortality, and it inspires us to achieve things we never thought possible. In September of 2013, a madman with a gun came to work and killed some of the good folks I worked with. I escaped without injury, but in retrospect, those shotgun blasts could have been aimed at anyone. Me included.
While it changed my life subtly, one of the personal aspects I learned about myself during that post-shooting self-appraisal period was that I wanted to be a published author. Not a unique thought, as who doesn’t want to be Stephen King or Richard Castle. I know. He’s not an author, he just plays one on TV. Beside the point. I’m in the middle of being inspired here.
I spent a year reading, both fiction and non-fiction. Sci-fi and Mystery, and then in November I started writing. I transformed my reading time to writing time. An hour a day in the morning. On the way to work. Seven months later, I had a manuscript.
As I continue to press forward on subsequent works, I drop jaws on a regular basis. “You wrote a book?” comes the incredulous question. Mainly from co-workers who see me at work every day.
My intent here is to share a few stories and encourage folks who have stories to tell or have thought about writing their own book. There’s no better time than today to enter the market of self-publishing. If I can find time to write 100,000 words in seven months, you can, too.
I’ll offer resources, insights and screw-ups. Just so you don’t have to repeat my mistakes. Of course, if you really want to, that’s your business.