I’ve been pondering my writing career today, but not just the usual plot or edit queries that usually crowd my thoughts. I’ve been thinking about it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not many of you know this, but I almost walked away from writing completely. All of us, no matter what career path we’ve chosen, at one time or another have pondered the idea, but I’m talking about being done, over, kaput.
I started writing much like I started life, with the cart coming WAY before the horse. Short stories and long letters to friends were my way of easing into it with no actual formal education on writing. Then, along came Stephen (or, as some of you know him, Super Hubby!). He’s been my rock, my coach, my encourager, and even, when situation has called for it, my cattle prod. We joke (and by “we”, I mean me. It still makes his jaw tense) about all of the times he had to shove my chair up to the desk and tell me to just write the damn book, and that he believed in me even if I didn’t. Well, I finally finished the damn book–a time travel romance, to be specific. It wasn’t pretty, but I finished it. Thank you, Stephen, for helping me make that happen. Then, without any guidance or even speaking with another writer, I foolishly shoved an unedited, un-critiqued book out to publishers and agents alike. I can laugh about this now, but the feedback was like a huge sucker punch from nowhere. I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, I ran across a site called Romance Divas and learned a ton about the business and about writing. I’ve traveled a long road since then. Special thanks to Marci Baun, Rhonda Penders, and Gemma Halliday for taking a chance on me. I’m forever grateful.
This road has, at times, been winding, bumpy, cold, and lonely. Sometimes all at once! I fell into a funk when things didn’t seem to be going my way or the dreaded one star review popped up (which I totally never read! *crosses fingers behind back*). So, I second guessed my choices, letting this cloud over the glowing reviews and wonderful emails from devoted readers, and nearly packed up the writing laptop for good. Then, Stephen pulled out the cattle prod again and said something to me that hit home, making me stop in my tracks. “If you don’t take your writing seriously, how can you expect anyone else to do that?” At the time, his words made me angry. I took my writing VERY seriously, when I had time. It took a few days of mulling his words over to sink all the way into my soul. He was spot on. I had to make it a priority. I’m still learning as I go, but I’m still here!
I just had to share this revelation of sorts with anyone who would take the time to read this, in hopes that it might help others. So, when you get a one star review (seriously though, no writer can make EVERY reader happy. It’s just not going to happen), or edits that make you feel like your guts just poured onto the floor (most of the time, these are going to make your story stronger), or simply that the words aren’t there, just take a deep breath and keep writing. You do have to take your writing seriously and make yourself happy. This can mean whatever works for you. Nobody else’s life is going to be just like mine, so just be strong and believe in yourself. Keep dreaming, keep growing, keep learning, and keep moving forward. No one else can do it for you. And, for now, I’m taking Stephen’s advice.