Though I've written all my life, starting with short stories when I was a little girl, plays for the neighborhood kids to perform, a magazine for teens, and after I had a family, PTA newsletters and plays for my Camp Fire Girls, I got a late start actually writing novels. Oh, I'd made a couple of attempts earlier in my married life, sent them off, they manuscripts were rejected--once each--and I threw them away. (Dumb, don't ever throw anything away. I could have fixed them later on when I actually knew more about writing.)
Just an aside, my first book that did get published when I was in my late forties was rejected nearly thirty times. I'd learned a lot more about writing and submitting by then and I didn't give up.
Now, twenty-five published books later--mostly mysteries--I can look back and see what being published has done for me. And no, it has certainly not made me rich. At least not rich in a monetary sense. However it has enriched me greatly as far as life experiences.
Traveling to interesting place that I would have never even considered visiting has come about because of attending mystery conventions and writers' conferences: Omaha, Milwaukee, Madison, El Paso, Seattle, Portland, Oklahoma City, Tampa, Orlando,Reno, Las Vegas, Monterey, Idaho, San Antonio, and Alaska twice.
My first time in Alaska I had an exciting adventure traveling to a tiny village in a big Suburban on the frozen river. I also met two young Native women and became friends with them. One of the gals and I exchanged emails and when I went back the second time, I stayed at her house and gave a talk to middle school kids in Wasilla.
Which brings me to the most important thing that being a published author has done for me, making lots of new and wonderful friends. Some have been other writers and some have been readers who have turned into fans of my mysteries. I've also met a lot of people on the Internet because I'm a writer.
Wherever I go now, I know I'll run into someone I've met before or who has read one of my mysteries, or I will meet someone new who will become a friend.
Though the writing is something I feel compelled to do, being published has enriched my life through the wonderful people I've met and spent time with in person and on line.
Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith