Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Journey Never Ends


For years I tried writing on my own.  I mean most writers write alone, but I wasn’t a part of a group and didn’t know anyone else who shared my dream.  It was such a lonely place to be, I still wonder how I managed to finish that first manuscript. But I’m so glad I did. The feeling of typing those last few words was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. J  Finding someone to share in my enthusiasm was a totally different story.

My bubble of joy burst quickly as I looked for agents and publishers I thought would love to add my book to their long lists of bestsellers. I sent in the required information and then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  When the first rejection came I was disappointed, but still held out hope.  Maybe this publisher was just having a bad day.  Then the second rejection came and the third and by the fourth I was pretty heartbroken. I still had no contact with other writers, little support at home, mainly because I hadn’t exactly told hubby what I was doing, and I started to think about just giving up. I mean no one would even know I failed.

No one but me.

I discovered Romance Writers of America online by accident and started looking for local chapters around my area. There were three. One was so close it was scary. After doing a little research on this chapter, I found out they were holding their annual contest and I still had time to enter before the deadline. Sending in my entry was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I was desperate to see what kind of feedback I would get. When the results came back it wasn’t pretty at all. The disappointment and frustration almost wore me down.  But something inside wouldn’t let me toss in the towel just yet.

I tried to reason with myself. Maybe that wasn’t the right story. So I decided to keep going and start something new. After finishing the second manuscript, I knew I had what it took to get the stories out of my head and down on paper. Now all I needed was a bit of work on my craft and a lot of knowledge on how the publishing industry really worked. My mind made up, I set out to check out the RWA chapter I’d sent my entry to in person.

Geesh… and I thought sending in my entry was hard. Going to that first meeting all alone was downright brutal. Sweating bullets, I sat in the car trying to talk myself out of it for a while, but again that little voice inside wouldn’t go away.

Try it. Go in for a few minutes. If you don’t like it you can always leave.

From the moment I walked through the doors, the people were awesome!  Friendly, exciting and they shared the same dream. Wow! I knew right then and there I’d never be the same. And it was a good thing!
 
A few gems every new writer needs to know:

The learning never ends.

Critique partners are priceless.

Doubts are part of the process.

There is no one size fits all in writing.

You must carve out your own path, dig in and follow your dreams.

And the most important one of all,

Never Give up!

My one and only regret is that I wish I’d have found these out sooner!  I’ve made so many new friends both online and local and just knowing others not only share my struggles, but also the joys of writing as well is so dang awesome I’m getting all teary eyed just thinking about it now.

No matter where you are in your journey, or what your journey may be, please don't try going it alone. The internet opens up so many doors. Search for others who love what you love. Join them. Learn from them. Share with them.

Dream big and then make it happen!
 

 


 

3 comments:

Marie said...

Melissa, I am so happy that you have pursued your dream.
It is so great that everything clicked at the right time.
Keep on writing..I love to read your novels!

staceyapurcell said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean! I thought I'd sit down and write a book- how hard could it be?? In the process I moved here and happened to see a sign (Romance Writers of America)and turned my car into the drive. Turns out I hit headquarters but they directed me to the meetings. I also sat in my car for what seemed like forever before I went in. It was the best decision I ever made.
Not only have I found tons of folks who are just off center- like me-, but I've learned so much on writing! My journey with this group has opened many doors for me and provided an education and networking like I couldn't even dream about.

Melissa said...

Thanks, ladies! I'm so glad to share this journey with you! :)