Not so long ago, I thought to myself, "You have a lot of opinions about books, especially in the Young Adult market. Think you can do it better?" So I started writing a story that I would eventually title Fingerprints.
I completed several chapters before telling anyone I was even making the attempt. After I sent the first eight or so chapters to a good friend, she got on my case to send her more. Nothing like an impatient fan to motivate the writing process.
That friend was the first to read the "completed" story as well. She immediately demanded I get going on the sequel. (I have, but it's making much slower progress while I refine Fingerprints.) My sister and mother were the next to read. The opinions of family and friends must naturally be taken with a grain of salt, but their enthusiasm gave me the confidence to go further - to let strangers read it.
So I posted the novel on Authonomy. The proverbial genie was out of the bottle. There's a healthy dose of "reality show gaming" going on, but I've also gotten valuable feedback and even more confidence.
Now, free time is a thing of the past. I've been through the manuscript countless times - tweaking, streamlining, expanding ... and leaving some things just as they are. Spare moments are consumed by attempts to draft a query, wrangle a synopsis, and research agents.
No more free time.
And I love it.