A Writing Journey

Once upon a time I met a guy who told me he was a novelist.

We became good friends, and I thought how cool it would be to write for a living. So eventually, I did.

Little did I know 1) how long it would take to get published, 2) how ego-crushing submitting manuscripts can be, 3) how many cool, awesome writers, editors, and agents I’d meet along the way, 4) how much excruciating, convoluted editing is involved to make a book ready for public dissemination, and 5) how ever-changing and random the publishing business is.

And it takes a really weird person (like me) to persevere. Fortunately, this business is filled with eccentric, fascinating, weird people so I fit right in.

A little update on what is happening with my next book to be released: “The Deadening,” psychological suspense, the story of the deadening and resurrection of a woman’s soul and all of the horrific decisions in between, mainly spurred by an assault, a coma, and a psychotic ex-husband. A cute detective is sandwiched in between the horrific stuff, so no worries.

The book has been edited by a professional editor, my agent, my (former) publishing house and about a thousand times by me. It’s as good and clean as it can get. It was slated to come out Summer, 2020. However, as the erratic and winding path of publishing goes sometimes, my publisher announced they have made the difficult decision to close the fiction publishing arm of their business.

I had to laugh. The writing journey is a long and winding path, and seems to get longer and windier the longer I’m involved.

My agent did not laugh. She was horrified. That is why I love her. She immediately jumped on the bandwagon, contacted my publisher to get specifics, then consulted every peer she could think of for new ideas to resurrect “The Deadening.”

So next week we start a new round of submissions, and I’m excited because I thought “The Deadening,” was, well…dead.

While that’s being worked out, I’m working on my next book, “The Vanishings.” My agent likes it. That’s a good sign.

Meanwhile, my personal character is being expanded by leaps and bounds. I’m not even throwing tantrums anymore when stuff like this happens, I just shrug and roll my eyes. I have a newfound respect for writers in general because it’s crazy hard to get a foothold in this business and keep going. I’ve developed a tough hide and an even tougher tolerance for problems, because hey…once you’ve been rejected a thousand times and someone finally picks up your work, the adrenalin surge washes over you like high tide and stays there. A writer could pound out a hundred more books on that one success alone.

Well, except for a few pity parties, but that’s a given. Writers bond over pity party stories and lots of alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.

So, that’s the scoop! The journey continues!

 

Click here to preview my first book, “The Hunting.”

 

 

 

Intermission

The phone call from my agent was less a thunderclap and more a gentle spring shower.

I’d finished the darn manuscript three years ago, gotten picked up by an agent a yearimagesCA00AB3C later, so how on earth could it take so long to find a publisher?

I read with fierce anxiety every rejection from major publishers. In truth, they were nice rejections, with compliments woven in, but a rejection all the same. I prefer to call them ‘redirections’. I do that because it is pretty hard to get that many rejections, although most manuscripts don’t even get a thorough read by the big boys, so there’s that.

But I thought being represented by an agent guaranteed a publishing contract in ten minutes.books and coffee nook intermission

Haha. Nope.

So I muddled around, thinking about what I should do in the meantime. I’m not a person who can just . . . be okay waiting. Surely I could hurry the process along. Isn’t that what we all think in the waiting? We have to do something.

I wrote more stuff. I prayed. I asked God if this wasn’t the right direction, should I just quit writing? Should I change course and write magazine articles? Should I work for one of those ten-cents-per-word blog writer companies? Work out more? Take up knitting? Get more cats?

This ‘being a writer’ thing is not as cool and interesting as it appears. A lot of time is spent writing into a void and I’m a person that needs encouragement. I still can’t figure out why I’ve always felt an inner urge to do this. I am the most needy and impatient person on earth and I don’t handle rejection well. A writer, by definition, is nearly synonymous with rejection.

I’ve learned a lot about waiting the past couple of years. Waiting means that eventually, the right thing to do will make itself known and nothing I can do or say will make it green arrow on stairshappen on my timetable. Oh I can bluster something in, ignore red flags, knock down doors that should remain closed and make the wrong thing happen and spend a couple years on a disaster detour,  but I’ve done that before and don’t want to do it again.

I’ve learned how to be content in the waiting, trusting that my prayers are heard and my desires are noted. I can trust the process if I’ve done the right things and have the right heart attitude. I’ve learned I can enjoy myself in the waiting, do stuff that I might not have time to do if I am busy meeting deadlines. I don’t have to sputter and spew complaints all over everyone that I’ve not ‘arrived’ yet or that people are just not ‘getting’ what I’ve accomplished.  I’ve learned not to pull the plug too fast on something, but wait. Be patient. I’m still learning how to do that, but I’m definitely better than I was.

I’m learning that just sitting in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard will yield something, anything; and that is better than nothing. Waiting is a great time to practice whatever skill or endeavor the waiting is attached to. Waiting also exposes the good, the bad and the ugly inside me, which gives me the opportunity to work on becoming a better person.

I wonder if there are many things quite as hard as waiting on something wonderful we’ve decided we must have. Problem is, often it isn’t something we just have to have. It may be a burning desire, but not an actual need. I didn’t have to ‘be something’ in order to validate myself or prove that I am a worthwhile human being. It’s been hard, but I’m learning to let go of the belief that my identity is wrapped up in what I do instead of bible intermissionwho I am. So I went sighing and moaning to God and gave him my desire to be a novelist, told Him it was all His anyway, so there.

And that was the week I got the call. By that time, I barely cared. The hold it had on me was broken. I was happy when I got the contract offer, but not overly impressed with myself. I was humbled instead. God gave me a gift! I want to be responsible and take care of it, but I’m no longer panting with desire or pushing and prodding and forcing it to happen through sheer self-will. cozy nook time intermission

It didn’t happen on my timetable. It happened when I quit trying so hard and caring too much.