Today we're going to have a little chat about perseverance.
Who am I? Well, probably no one you've ever heard of.
But I am an expert on my best friends, fear and self-doubt. So I thought this might be a good topic for me to tackle, and tell you the story all about how my writing career got flipped turned upside down.
Picture it: 2010.....an emotionally charged new mom with little sleep, and a traveling husband, decided to write a book. Friends and family encouraged her, said her words were great, and she should try and get it published. Naive mom decided, yes, this sounds like a great idea. If friends and family love it, the rest of the world surely would as well.
Well, let's just say reality hit me hard. Rejections ate my soul. And many times I wanted to give up. But there's something special about the writing community, and once they grab hold of you, they don't let go. They don't let you give up. They become your friends who pull you off ledges, reel you in from the sea of self-loathing, and make you keep going. Because while friends and family may be supportive and encouraging, writing friends understand what you're going through on a level no one else ever will.
How does one obtain said writerly friends? Lots of ways. Join local chapters of associations, writers guilds, enter online contests, find writing forums. Some of my best friends have come from Twitter and writing contests online. And if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here today writing this blog post. Let's face it, friends are cheaper than therapy and a hospital stay from alcohol poisoning.
But sometimes, fear and self-doubt still turn up like bad pennies or exes. And no matter how many times my friends talk me down from the walls, my writing life looks like this:
It's hard when you pour your heart and soul into words on a page, characters who live in your head finally make it to paper and the world just doesn't love them as much as you do. Trying to find a home for your book babies is a harsh business. And it plays with our head and hearts.
It's hard to stay motivated when you're facing a pile of rejections. How many times can you hear, well just write another book. Often times success doesn't happen with your first book. Or even second or third. I've heard stories of people who wrote ten or fifteen books before ever landing an agent or publishing contract.
These stories never made me feel as encouraged as people probably meant them to be. Instead it turned me into:
Did you know there's an actual scientific name for the hysteria I possess?
Suddenly, I was never going to ever get published. Everything I ever wrote sucked, and I would just sell insurance for the rest of my life. Because I was going on book number five and still unpublished and unagented.
Granted, the more books I wrote, the better my writing had become and more requests came my way. Over the years I've learned more about my craft, honed my skills, made tons of amazing friends and even mentored others just starting out. And suddenly, things didn't seem so bad.
Then one day one of my best writerly friends encouraged me to try writing a short story for her publisher who had a call for an anthology. She suggested I take a break from writing my usual stuff and just try writing something completely different. So I set out to write a short for a sexy anthology about uniformed heroes. I thought, why not.
While I sat waiting to hear back on the anthology, she encouraged me to write a novella for one of this publisher's other special lines called Naughty Fairytales. My mainstay had always been science fiction and fantasy so I thought, well yeah I could totally write a sexy fairytale. So I did. And wrote one in a few days and subbed that.
And low and behold, that email came from the publisher and they wanted my short story for their anthology. Then they wanted my naughty fairytale too. And I totally sat at my computer looking something like this:
Suddenly I'm scrambling to set myself up a pen name and a whole new persona for my new writerly life writing sexy fun-time stories. I'm still trying to find an agent for my more mainstream novels. But now a whole new world has opened up for me on the side writing more romantic and fun sexy stories to pass the time. So sometimes you have to shake things up. Try something new. Success isn't always what you think it may be.
There will be many hills and valleys. Many highs and lows. But the key to it all is perseverance.
For some, reaching their dreams may happen over night. Sometimes it's all about being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it's knowing people. Sometimes it's just dumb luck. Often times it's hard work and just never giving up.
So if you're at that point where you want to throw in the towel....maybe throw in the towel on one thing, but pick up another towel and snap that one around for a little while. Sometimes you just have to go in a different direction to achieve a goal. Will I give up on my other persona? Never. I'm just detouring and enjoying this new ride for a little while.
And now, February 13, 2015 my very first book is getting published with Evernight Publishing. My naughty fairytale, UNBEARABLE will see the light of day.
And on February 27th my short story will be out in the Uniformed Hero anthology!
So, if you're feeling down and out about life in the writing lane, don't give up. Remember: