Last week, my FundsforWriters editorial covered how long it took me to write, edit, find an agent, then land a contract for my novel Hog-Tied (name may change). Frankly, I thought it little more than a chronology, with an attaboy at the end.
OMG, I received over a hundred replies to that simple message about how hard it was to find my way through this maze we call writing to publication. People thanked me for revealing the details. I was stunned so many found my journey interesting. Many stated they were now motivated to begin again. Huh?
Then on December 28, Karen Dionne, author of Freezing Point and Boiling Point (released December 28, 2010) gave her story about landing an agent and a contract on the Sisters in Crime blog. While her situation was different, it was similar. It took me years to land an agent. It took her years to land the contract after she found her agent. Bottom line, it was not easy.
I think there's something soothing and validating about seeing other people endure hard times like we do. Suddenly we aren't as worthless or talentless as we thought. Writers we know, writers like us, have struggled at their keyboards in sweats, with coffee and uncombed hair, fretting over rejection. We sense a little hope. We see others ahead of us in the procession, actually making it to a publisher - to the bookstore shelf.
For some reason we don't see big name authors as living on our planet. They do. They walked in the same shoes we did once upon a time. They were poor, held other jobs, felt rejection. They didn't win the lottery. They kept writing, submitting and querying. Some days they believed in their work. Other days they wanted to rip it to shreds. Some of them just kept writing because it's what they do. But once, they were like you.
This effort is long, hard, steady and endless. You do not write quickly. You do not publish quickly. You do not decide to write in order to make a buck. If you have a deadline to "make it big", then move on and find another hobby. If there's anything I've learned from this endeavor, it's that I'd do it no matter what. It's that mentality that gives you promise, makes you continue, keeps you sane.
It's the end of 2010 and the start of a fresh 2011. Sit back and decide what you'll accomplish in that shiny new year. But don't say publish, because that's out of your hands. Say write, edit, market, study, critique and study. Say submit and query. See those action verbs? Those are in your hands. Do those to the best of your ability, and somebody else will take care of the publishing.