Real Life & Romance Blog
|Posted on 26 April, 2017 at 11:30|
When I first started my writing career (for real, after lots of starts and stops and life road bumps slowing me down), the thing I remember asking myself was 'What's the Worst Thing that Could Happen?'
Naturally, my response was 'The books will never get published.'
The truth is, that was far from the worst thing that could happen, because with indie publishing becoming so popular and accepted by readers, platforms like Wattpad starting up, and authors simply publishing free reads on their websites, the stories would have found their way into readers' hands one way or another.
The ACTUAL worst thing that could happen was not taking the chance-giving up before I finished that first book and never knowing if I could do it.
So many aspiring authors are afraid to try. Afraid of failure, afraid of success, afraid of editors, afraid of other authors, afraid of putting themselves out there...the list of fears goes on. And they are entirely valid. I've had every last one of them. I still do.
BUT, writing is not something someone just starts doing one day for fun. For real writers, we need to write, to create something, to get down on paper the thoughts in our head. It's not a choice for most of us. For some, it's journaling, others it's poetry, others it's novels or literary works. Either way, writers write because we can't not write.
I have tried over the years to do other things. I have a degree. I started a Masters/PhD program in Neurolinguistics. I've held more jobs than I'll ever admit to, but the one thing that I could never stop doing is writing.
I know this is sounding familiar to every writer reading this.
The reason for the blog post is because I get asked so often how I make things happen-How did I find an agent? How did I get published? How did I get producers interested in adapting books? How did I reach out to NHL stars and famous musicians for research help? How did I land a Writer in Residence position when there currently wasn't a position to be had?
I punched fear in the face, silenced that inner voice that said I couldn't and I did it. I reached out and asked for what I wanted.
Things will never fall into your lap. If that's what you're hoping for, waiting for...you will be disappointed. Luck does play a huge part in success, but it's the kind of luck you make for yourself. Yes, I was 'lucky' to find an agent who liked my particular voice. But that's because I only queried agents that I thought would. I was 'lucky' to sell my new series to my editor at GCP, but it's because we sent to story to an editor who loves the kind of heroes I write. I was 'lucky' to have an NHL star and his wife help me with research, but it was because I knew the kind hearted, helpful family I was approaching.
I report the good news, I tend to stay quiet about the bad, so I know (because I've had emails telling me) that some people can view my career as slanted toward success and I am often viewed as 'too positive' (again, I've received emails lol) so here's the other side:
In the last three months, I've had two new series proposals rejected. It happens. I cried. I move on.
I've changed agents which was a stressful, soul-searching decision to make. I cried. I went with my gut. I move on.
I've started and stopped three new projects because I feel like a fraud each time I start to write. I cry and I keep writing.
But along with those setbacks were all the good things I've experienced this year with my career. And while each of the above were setbacks, they were also good things. I love the start of my new relationship with my new agent. I realize the other two series weren't something I was feeling passionate about writing, but rather something I felt I needed to do. And I know that the reason I'm struggling with my new projects is that they scare me. They are different from what I usually write, and there's a new challenge there and new fears.
What's the Worst Thing that Could Happen if you went for what you wanted?
You'd fail? Not in you want it bad enough.
You'd succeed? Great!
Your family and friends wouldn't support you? The truth is, I have a fantastic support system, but I also had doubters along the way and ultimately, you take the positive support and the negative comments and use both to fuel your passion and drive. Succeed because you believe in yourself (or others believe in you until YOU do) and prove the others wrong. In the end-no one will care about your career as much as you do, so don't look to outside forces for encouragement or justification. Look within.
Your romance career could hurt your day job? Write under a pen name.
You don't know 'how' to write? I will lend you my writing how-to books;) I will give you a list of conferences to attend, groups to join. The romance community is big and loving and supportive!
No one will read your books? This is actually the closest answer. As an author, not reaching readers is what I'd consider the closest thing to the 'worst thing that could happen'. But, even if no one other than you ever reads a word of your story-you finished a book. You proved to yourself that you could do it. You pushed past fears, doubt, writer's block, life getting in the way, others telling you you can't do it...and you did.
And I know you are thinking that it's easy for me to say that because I did get my work published, but the truth is, I'm currently 'out of contract' therefore the books I am writing now are currently 'just for me'. I hope they do find homes, but there's no guarantee. So right now, I am where a lot of you are-facing the unknown.
It's scary, but it's also so fucking exciting. (Sorry, I'd gone a whole blog post without swearing;))
So, which of the above excuses are you using to hold yourself back? Whichever it is-stop.
Now, stop reading my rambling, and go write something!
Categories: writing life