Ever since I can remember, it’s been one of my most persistent dreams to write a novel.
As a kid, I started a book (in pencil, by hand!) every summer. Mostly, it was a loose collection of semi-autobiographical tales that happened to a make-believe person.
When summer ended, so did the book. It wasn’t finished, but I put it on a shelf in my closet and started a new one the following summer.
And so it went — for years.
My first career was as a newspaper journalist.
I wrote every day — nonfiction. Real things that happened to real people in real time.
My colleagues and I often talked about writing “the Great American Novel.” Most of them weren’t serious; I was, but dared not admit it for fear of being ridiculed and discouraged.
One day, the “itch” became so insistent that I had to scratch it. I started a novel.
Not on company time, mind you. By then, I was on a new career in Web Design. Running my own business meant I could write around projects.
I wrote while watching my son’s soccer games, or waiting for him to get out of school, or during one of his many lessons.
And I actually finished this novel. Keyed in (on computer) “The End.” Finally, I was a writer!
The book was awful, unless you count spelling, grammar, and sentence structure (thank you, grade school nuns!). If you like tension, conflict, characterization, and such, forget it.
So it joined the unfinished others on the shelf, while I devoured Writer’s Digest magazines, poured money into writing how-to books, attended workshops and tried to learn what I didn’t even know I didn’t know.
Several years ago I faced another dreaded lull in my business.
Time on my hands. Fear of going to the poorhouse.
I started a second novel and finished it, too.
This one was better. With age comes courage (if we’re lucky), and I sent out query letters, hoping to snag a literary agent.
I studied some more. Did more reading. Attended a conference or two.
And started my third novel.
I typed “The End” several months ago and have since polished and revised and polished some more. Once again, I’m shopping for an agent. Once again, I’m looking for publication.
Because everybody knows being a writer is different from being an author — right?
Well, sort of.
I’d like to think I don’t need publication to validate what I’m doing. That, even if I can’t go into a bookstore and pick up a book with my name on the cover and my words inside, I’m still a writer.
But why write if you can’t share your words with the world??
So I’ll continue chasing my dream. And I’ll continue to write because that’s what writers do.
As Admiral Farragut once said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
I know you have to have considered self-publishing. What made you decide to go the traditional route? I ask because I’m always weighing this question myself.
I don’t know, Lynne. I guess I’d feel more validated if I could publish traditionally. I want to join the ranks of authors like Grisham, Grafton, Koontz, Patterson, and others. Everything I’ve read reinforces my opinion that self-publishing, on the other hand, feels more like vanity. And too many self-published books that I’ve seen look “cheap,” for lack of a better word — the mistakes the author made are left in for everybody to wince over. And too often, traditional publishing houses look askance over manuscripts that have been self-published. I don’t know; it’s a real dilemma, isn’t it?
I love your spirit and persistence and can relate to your passion. The quote on my business card speaks to this”Some things have to be believed to be seen” So Write On and may all your publishing dreams come true..the best publishing route is up for debate in these times but where there’s a will there’s a way!
Thanks, Kathy. Love your business card quote! I don’t guess any of us knows which route to publication is best — it probably varies with the author, the subject, and so many other things. Let’s all hang tough together and lick this dragon!
Wow, that’s amazing – you’ve written three books! I wish you success in finding a publisher, and please keep us posted when the book is on the shelves. Fabulous.
Sunshine, you’re making me blush! Thanks for your kind words. I’ll be the one yelling from the rooftops, when I finally find the right agent and publisher!