Greetings, AW community! My name is Carrie Ann and I have a confession. I am not a writer. Feel free not to claim me.

I do love to read and I do love words, but I am more of a thinker who types.

In the five years prior to 2017, I thought I was charging with determined strides up an entrepeneurial mountain. After battling billy goats and trolls and surviving landslide after landslide it became apparent that all I was conquering was a treadmill with a mountainous backdrop.

In a fit of... something... creativity? rage? rebellion? exasperation? divine inspiration? remains to be see... I wrote a novel. 86,000 words of what I'm best genre-lyzing humorous suspense. It came to me easily, I finished the first draft in about five months. The polish took a few more months. I think it came quickly because it is based on a true story about a con man I encountered in my real life. I did fictionalize, but the bones of the story were indeed, as they say, stranger than fiction without too much embellishment. Is that cheating or writing what you know?

Throughout my life, people (family, friends, co-workers, bosses, a business consultant, a couple of my investors, clients) have asked me why I don't write (or didn't write, as the case may be) and I've replied, "I'll write when I retire. I am young and strong and healthy now and when my body fails and it will because I have not been good to it, then I will write."

Now, post first manuscript still somewhat young-ish and healthy-ish, I wonder if I didn't write because I intuitively knew I didn't want to query. I'm joking, sort of, but not really. I'm not sure I ever wanted to put this much pressure on it.

But now there is presssure. Now, I have a completed manuscript and there is a salesperson in me that needs to sell it. The rub is- in theory the sales part is supposed to be easy for me. I am the proverbial ice salesman. It has not been easy. I've made all the rookie mistakes all while proclaiming I wouldn't. I've rushed past warnings not to rush.

I have researched queries and agents until my eyes bleed and in the process web crawled myself back here again and again. I've lost track of query drafts, it's around twelve or thirteen. I've sent out two dozen or so to as many rejections or no responses. My last draft did garner my very first personalized rejection. Oh what a bittersweet accomplishment that is.

My motivation for introducing myself this evening to you all is two-fold, the first, I'm avoiding querying and query research and agents spreadsheet and another query re-write and blah blah.

And the second, recently one of your forum members gave me some much needed writerly guidance and in order to receive said guidance I needed to become a member. But officially becoming a member of a writers forum prompted the thought I wasn't really a writer.

The only other forum I am a member of is a billiard forum. I played competitive pool for well over a decade and worked for a man who makes obscenely expensive pool cues. I can honestly say that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a pool player, a figurative card carrying member of their society and that I am a member of that forum is but an extension of that association.

I don't deserve the figurative writer card. I wrote. There is a manuscript. I have queried and been rejected. I went to a workshop. But all that, plus this post doesn't count. Having earned my stripes in other endeavors and reflecting on rookie attempts in those fields. I am too green for a card. I'm not even sure yet if I'll write another. Keeping consistent, in pool terms, I play, I've practiced, competed and lost, had instruction. But I've only done that once for a book and done those things over and over for a over a decade for pool. Relatively, I would laugh at my freshman attempt, were I a writer.

So, now that I have alleviated my guilt for lurking amongst you card carriers, a very sincere thank you to all those that have come before and posted on this massive invaluable resource. I have utilized these pages countless times and suspect I will countless times more.