Every now and then you meet the right people

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Throughout my journey as a fledgling author, I have encountered many encouraging people along the way.  In the initial stages of writing it was friends and family who were at the forefront of my support team.  As I talked more about my writing progress, my circle of support grew much bigger and began to gather friends whom I have never met face to face but have become friends through this blog.

The nice thing about friends is that they have other friends, and some of those friends can provide a wealth of knowledge about the very thing that I am most passionate about – writing.  Yesterday, I met one of those people.  She was able to give me a much more extensive view into the publishing world since she has two published novels and a third is due out in October of 2018.

During our conversation, she was more than just supportive, she was engaging.  She gave me some great insight into ways that I can establish more connections and receive some honest opinions about my writing.  She told me about her journey through publishing and made me have faith that the rocky roads I will face in wanting to be published can quite possibly pave the way to eventual success.  And the one thing she told me that I will continue to hold onto is to never give up.

The best thing I have learned about this process is to take advice, to take lots of advice.  Some of it may have no bearing on my path or my success, but at least I can face the daunting task of publishing with as much information in my arsenal as I can get.

The two most important things I have going for me are tenacity and an extreme desire to succeed.  If I can keep meeting the right people and following the right path, I just might find that success.

 

Trying to keep my s&*t together

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There is a fine line between hoping for the best and reaching for the stars.  I am perched precariously in the middle of the two, balancing on that fine line.

A blogging friend who I have never met face to face suggested I contact her publisher and I, being the eternal optimist, thought ‘what do I have to lose’?   I sent an email and I was shocked to receive a quick answer.  I have since submitted my first three chapters of my novel and will await her response.  The publisher has been very forthcoming, telling me she is madly preparing two new books for publication so I have a few weeks to wait for her reply.  I may or may not be sh*&&ing my pants.

My first two Beta readers were very encouraging.  Although the first one is related to me, I knew I could count on the second reader to be brutally honest with her feedback. She loved my story, so much so that she didn’t want to put the pages down and was sad when it came to an end.  To say I was elated is a gross understatement.

When you create a story and bleed throughout it from beginning to end, it is more than encouraging that others can find, not only merit in your writing but, a story in which they can truly become engaged.

Here’s hoping the publisher feels the same way.

 

 

 

 

Feeling elated all over again

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When I explain to people how it feels to write a book, I compare it to being pregnant and birthing a child without the physical pain.  I mean no disrespect to women who have given birth to a tiny human but the process is quite similar.  You spend months caring for and cultivating this remarkable thing you have created and once the process has come to its natural conclusion, you feel elated and you feel a sense of pride you never knew existed.  You spend so much time staring at it and are afraid to let anyone else touch it.  It never leaves your side.

But there comes a time when you have to learn to give up a little bit of the control.  Eventually you know you are going to have to let other people handle your baby and you are a nervous wreck when you finally make the decision to leave them with someone else.  Your gut churns as you wonder how other people are going to react and how they are going to treat your baby.

Until this week my baby had only been left with family. While there is still a sense of apprehension, one assumes that family will not come straight out and tell you that your child is terrible.  They may allude to the fact that there are some problems but any feedback could be slightly sugar-coated to preserve the emotional well-being of the parent.

I knew the day would come when I would have to hand my baby, my book, over to a person outside of my immediate family.  It honestly felt like I was dropping my child off at overnight camp for a week with no way to communicate with them.  I carved a path in my living room carpet as I paced the floor and, as the days went on, I began to get a feeling that I’m sure many parents feel.  If I have done the job I needed to do in the creation of this entity, I should have some faith that I did a good job.

Yesterday morning, I received a validation so positive it made me cry.  Her first two texts read, “Omgggggg, I am so hooked on your friggen book.  It’s like every second wondering if you can take it with you to read one more page.”

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Where the flame of my publishing dream was a mere flicker, it is now a roaring fire.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to buy some gasoline.

 

You never know where help will come from

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In a random phone conversation at work yesterday, I was talking to a guest who was re-booking her summer vacation.  In the process of that exchange, we began to talk about the book that I have written.  It seemed like just a simple trade of information until she called me back half an hour later and said she had some information about publishers.

When one is a fledgling author, the mere mention of any connection to a publisher is exhilarating.  As I frantically wrote down the information she was giving me, I could feel my heart beating at an accelerated rate.  I was writing with one hand, Googling with the other and trying to retain all of the information from each place.

She had given me the name of a recently published author who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Her friend assured her that he was a really nice fellow willing to help out where he could.  With my tenacious Google-searching skills, I had tracked down his email in no time and sent him a query.  Much to my delight, he answered within a few hours.

Although he may not be the direct link I need to have into the publishing world, as a newly published author he could be a wealth of information for me at this stage of my writing career and he seems to be very engaged in helping others that are going through the phases of being a writer that he has already experienced.

I have since sent my first four chapters to the publishing company that previously took a chance on the Winnipeg writer and will wait with crossed fingers to see if I get a response.   If nothing else, I have a published author willing to send me snippets of much-needed advice and that, in itself, is priceless.

 

Luck be a Lady

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“You can knock on a lot of doors, but real luck is knocking on the right door, at the right time, and having someone on the other side willing to open it.” ~ SN

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I am not as patient as Job, but I am willing to endure some obstacles along the path to my goals.  That willingness has served me well in many aspects of my life.  Considering the initial idea for my first novel was conceived almost a decade ago, I am proud of myself for seeing it through and writing it in its entirety.

Now comes the true test of my patience – trying to find an agent who thinks my story has enough merit for a publisher to be interested in adding me to their repertoire.

I have mentally prepared myself with the knowledge that this is going to be a long process.  It may take years to find an agent, if I do find one, and it will take a few more years beyond that for my book to be published.  It is a painstaking process that will require every ounce of faith I have in the fact that my book (or books) will, one day, be on a book shelf.

Between knocking on the intangible doors of those prospective agents (by means of email or website submissions), I have begun work on a second novel.  Success isn’t always about luck.  It’s also about tenacity and the willingness to put in the work.  Thankfully, I have my fair share of both of those qualities, not just in my writing but in my life in general.

If something is worth working for and putting forth the effort, I am willing to fall back on my patience to see where my journey takes me.  Sure, it would be nice to have some luck on my side to open the right doors at the right times, but Lady Luck is a fickle creature and she does what she wants, when she wants.  I can’t spend my life depending on that luck, so I am hoping to create some of my own by keeping my tenacity at the forefront of my game.   This way I know, if Luck isn’t going to be that Lady, I at least have a back-up plan.

 

 

 

Just writing is just right

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I knew it wasn’t gone completely.  Lying dormant, somewhere in the back of my brain, was my drive to write.  It happens to me every autumn.  I begin to realize I have more time to write but, because the summer and fall are so much busier at work, I have been out of the habit of sitting down and writing every day.

With the lull of November upon us, I now have time to retrain my brain to generate the phrases that have been trapped in its confines and send them coursing through my fingertips onto my keyboard.  When I say coursing, I mean slow dribbles of words that may string themselves into a sentence, but it’s a start.

I have a writing project ongoing with our local library that I am anxious to rekindle and a second book that is a mere shadow of what it will become.  I still have many query letters to compose with the hope of finding an agent willing to take me on so I can get my first novel published and I have the desire to continue putting words together to string together a meaningful essay to represent my life.

I have taken the first step by promising myself that I will write a blog post every day for the month of November.  Here’s hoping…..

 

 

The power of the written word

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Words have always been a passion of mine.  I can remember penning poems before my age was in the double digits and I loved to lose myself in books at a young age as well.  Having said this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that words affect many others the same way they affect me but today I was shown a glaring example of how words, my words, had a greater resonance than I ever imagined.

On August 30th, I wrote this poem (click here) about a dear friend who had gone into hospital the previous night.   Writing, especially writing poetry, is very cathartic for me and allows me to deal with my emotion on a level on which I feel very comfortable.  I had given the poem to the companion of the woman who was the subject of the poem hoping he could read it to her in the hospital.

Sadly, a week after she went into hospital, she passed away from a virulent bacterial infection that her body couldn’t fight due to the aggressive chemotherapy she had been undergoing.  I never found out if he had read the poem to her while she was still conscious.

Today, I drove to the city with my friend and co-worker to attend the celebration of life for this dear woman we both had met at the lodge and absolutely adored.  When her companion, Sandy, saw us at the golf club, his eyes welled with tears and we were both met with a warm embrace.    He invited us to sit at his family table and treated us like we were a part of his family.  After a toast to Joan and some funny stories, I found out that Sandy had read my poem at her funeral service.  I was moved to tears.

As I write this post through many more tears, I can take great pride in knowing that my words fell onto the ears of so many others who loved her as well.  One simple night of pouring out my emotion into a blog post turned into a tribute that hundreds of people were able to hear and know how much she meant to me.  Words have connected me to her friends and family and for that I will be forever grateful.