Saturday, November 27, 2010

If you want to be a writer, think about this

After a couple of moonths of absence, I'm getting back to blogging.  I promise to faithfully blog here in the future.

I started this blog to describe what it's like as I work toward being a writer.  I've been told a few times now "if you write, you're a writer," but I think everyone will know what I mean.  I've had several short stories published, but I'm still waiting for the publication of the novel I wrote (called SNOWSTORM). Actually, I could tell you what it's like pretty quickly. I kind feel like I've been on a roller coaster for about six years now. 

For me, it started in front of computer screen with an idea and a nagging belief I could birth a book. Cross my heart, if I'd had any idea how hard it was going to be to do this, I'd never have believed I could do it. Anyway, I wrote and wrote and wrote...and behold, I finished something I thought was pretty good, and I was up there at the top. 

Then, in my case, I started attending writers' workshops. Yes, I know that's a little backwards, but that's how I seem to do things.  Unfortunately, when I started to study writing and the publishing business, I found out how much I needed to learn, and down, down, down I came, thinking: it's too much, it's too hard, it's too late in life. But I couldn't let it go somehow, so I was off to a conference and had my first critique with a professional editor, who said something like, "This is pretty good. You have some real talent, now you just need to take it to the next level."  Talent?  Whoosh - up I go. I can do this, I just have to study this thing, learn the jargon, fix the things I've been learning about.  

Thus began the rewriting period. Lasting something like three years, and I won't even go into those peaks and valleys. Through the four or five rewrites I have more critiques that are gradually more positive, just feeding me enough sugar to keep me begging for more. Finally, I think the book is actually ready to market, yea - rah, feeling good...until the rejections come in one after another. Argh, is my ride over? This time when the conference rolls around, I actually get an offer from an editor at a well-know publishing house to send the full manuscript. Wow - flying high again - and I send it in, and-and-and- nothing. Nobody calls, nobody writes. Oooh, ooh, but then I find out the editor got laid off two weeks after I shipped in the book. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but I'm not dead yet.

Long, long story short, I finally found Echelon Press and its owner Karen Syed, who said "yes, we want your book." Let the celebration begin! Tell your friends, tell your family! Which brings me to the last few months, when I started to wait, and although it has been a sweet time anticipating the book's release in the spring of 2011, it is also a torturous period during which I've become lethargic with the waiting, neglecting this blog and failing to update on facebook or Linkedin. So what's next? I began the first round of editing with Echelon. For the last two weeks I've done little else, but work on getting dreaded "weak" and overused words out of the story. So, I've been soaring again, happy to be working toward a release date.

I don't know if I'm manic or just impatient, but I can't help believing this is the pattern all new writers must face. What are you supposed to do while you bide your time ?  Sigh, I've been writing another novel. 

1 comment:

Angie Eaton said...

My interest was peaked in the last sentence of the third paragraph when you wrote, "...learn the jargon, fix the things I've been learning about." I paused to consider with great interest what someone in your position (teacher) would not already know. What knowledge that you could share would have been gained at these workshops. Is it associated style of writing, making inferences, foreshadowing, grammar, or something completely different. "Someday" I intend to write a book(s). Right now, while teaching my own children, I soak and share up any type of information that could be beneficial in any way. When reading I process the text as though I am the writer, as well as the reader to get the best perspective possible.
It is great to have a window into the events you are experiencing as you travel this road. I will do my best to glean as much as you are willing to share. I can't wait to read the book and I enjoy reading your blog.