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I’ve started a new story. This is the third time in so many years I’ve started something new.
As I remain unagented and unpublished, you can assume my first two attempts haven’t gone the way I hoped. There are a number of reasons for what’s gone on with them but that isn’t what I’m going to address here today.
Instead, I want to talk about what it means to keep moving forward with those kinds of experiences behind us.
Everyone reads the tales of quick success. The author who writes one story and sends it to the dream agent who says yes. Said dream agent then sends it to the author’s dream publisher who also says yes. Just like that. No learning curve. No first book (or three books… or five…) that stays under the bed while the writer hones their craft. No mountain of rejections or unfortunate critique experiences. Just a story that the industry immediately loves sent out into a world that immediately loves it too.
I’d love to say I’m not jealous… but I am. I’d love to say I’m not discouraged… but sometimes I am. Not always, just sometimes.
Oh there are positive things too. I’ve come a really long way as a storyteller. I’ve had some contest finals. I’ve met a fabulous support system of writers who inspire me.
But as I sit in front of my new story, it’s been hard—so far—not to second-guess each word I type. The right wording? The best place to start? Deep enough POV?
I don’t know the answers to those things. Part of me says, “Just write it, if it isn’t the right wording/start/POV you’ll find out further along.” And another part, the part that paralyzes me, says, “Why are you bothering at all? It’s going to suck, end up under your figurative bed like everything else.”
I’d like to say “No it won’t!” to that voice, but I don’t know that. I don’t know if this story will do any better out in the big bad world than the last two attempts. I have no idea if this is the story that brings me success in the marketplace. Will it be better than my last story? Probably. Good enough? No clue.
But maybe it will. I’d love to say I’ll be happy just writing for the rest of my life, no matter if I publish or not. But I’d be lying. I want to publish. That’s the goal I see at the end of all this. I won’t stop, though, if I don’t publish after this book. I can’t see that I’ll stop after the next one either. I can’t foresee a stop point at all, honestly. Because I keep thinking if I keep going forward, odds will favor me. I’ll get exponentially better and, if I get a little sprinkle of luck, I’ll eventually hit the jackpot.
I just need to keep going. And that’s what I tell myself when I’m doubting my words on my new story. Keep going.
So, what keeps you from giving up? Any fabulous inspirational quotes about writing you can share to get us going? Or any author’s publishing stories that prove that perseverance pays off?