Writing was ‘in the air’ in my house – my dad subscribed to Writer’s Digest, and as Mormons it was part of our culture to write sermons, essays, and even comic plays. So I always wrote and thought of writing as something regular people did all the time. But it wasn’t a career choice! I entered college as an archaeology major, but found I was spending all my time in the theatre department. So I changed majors. I started writing in order to fix plays (Flowers for Algernon, for instance, had a terrible second act, so with the director’s permission I wrote a new one based on the story and novel), and then to adapt novels for readers’ theatre productions.
How different would my writing career be nowadays if I had sent that first manuscript off to ESP instead of Tor. I probably would never have started writing short stories, so I wouldn’t have come across critique forums like Baen’s Bar. I never would’ve made the awesome friends I’ve made, and I would be left slogging through the revisions of that novel (or ones of a second novel) with little or no feedback to help me understand what works in stories and what doesn’t. ALL it would’ve taken would have been a different address on that one envelope, and this would be so different.