A Different Perspective, Sunday Edition, Victoria Advocate
When I began my writing journey in earnest, I penned a partial Young Adult novel about a young girl who wants to save sea turtles. I’ve always been fascinated by the creatures, and it seemed an appropriate place to start. Still, the story was doomed from the beginning. I agonized my way through 150 pages, hating every minute of it. I had no clue how to write a novel. For that matter, I didn’t know anything about saving documents either, since I lost the manuscript to cyberspace, never to be found again. In retrospect, that wasn’t a bad thing.
Discouraged over that crash and burn, I followed other worthwhile pursuits, but the writing dream never went away. I wrote devotionals and published many of them online. I enjoyed a fiction writing course, but I thought nonfiction was my gig for some odd reason. I wrote short stories and had two of them published by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing. Even though I yearned to write book-length stories, I still smarted from the first disaster. What I managed on paper (or Word docs) fell short of the 3D stories in my head. I’ve since learned, this dichotomy is an ongoing battle with most writers.
My husband and children knew the desire of my heart. A few friends were aware. God certainly knew; he just waited for me to get past my fear of failure. That said, writing is one of those professions it takes a lifetime to master. Contrary to how it’s depicted in movies, the learning curve takes years. Nevertheless, my patience level has improved, if nothing else.
Around that time, my son gave me a sea turtle necklace, saying, “You’re just like this turtle, Mom. It’s hard, and many don’t make it, but you’re going to.”
My family’s belief in me gave me the faith to try again. They were living, breathing examples of grace as I stumbled to find solid footing.
For the last five years, I’ve worked hard at learning my craft. However, it took more time than I imagined to find my voice, niche, and writing genre. Currently, I’m working on a series of inspirational contemporary romances. The first book is complete, the second book is in the revision stage, and the third book is in outline form.
If that were all it required, most writers would be happy people, but the marketing aspect of writing is daunting. It requires a different skillset and has a built-in clause guaranteed to make writers bang their heads against the wall—more than once.
Traditional publishing tends to move very slowly. The slots are limited, and most publishing houses require authors to have an agent. And, honestly, the well-known publishing houses like authors who already have a large following. Indie (self) publishing is popular, but knowing how to market a book is crucial if an author wants to sell beyond family and friends. Realistically speaking, an author is a small business owner. Translation: Hard work and multiple hats. No glamour.
Currently, I’m agent-shopping. There again, it’s not what most people think. The agent/author combo needs to be a good fit for both people. Also, if an agent doesn’t believe he can sell your book, he won’t take you on as a client. This is where the dreaded rejection letters happen.
Like the sea turtles, who hatch from eggs on the shore and embark on a perilous journey to find their natural habitat, my writing dream has been arduous as well. But, in all truthfulness, if I hadn’t had strong support groups in my life—family, church, writing friends, and now, loyal Vicad readers, I would have given up long ago.
Bonum est Deus. God is good.