“I’ll have a chocolate chip scone today, please.” Tea froths into my cup. “And one lump, not two. Thank you!”
What I love about tea time is sharing the longings of the heart and whatever has stirred the mind in recent days. Gathering together is a great way to stir and replenish the soul. I always feel depleted if I haven’t been able to commune with friends.
Writers, you see, are solitary beings. Some readers are too. The written word can be an elixir too tempting to ignore, keeping you literally chained to a computer for hours on end. I’ve found that to be the case recently. I’m experiencing a whirlwind to publication that has me channeling different personas on a daily basis. The calendar I’ve rarely paid attention to, has now become my saving grace. But this wonderful experience has also gifted me with so many blessings. If you’ll allow me, I’d like to share a few with you today.
One of the wonderful things about the road to publication is knowing your baby will finally go out into the world. But as in every writer’s life, that was not always the case. The road to publication is riddled with potholes and cracks. Sometimes it seems the more we patch the segmented strips of asphalt by attending conferences, taking online classes, participating in critiques, seasons of growth, the elements and a bad critique or rejection do their worst, leaving us strown about the room in pieces. (Where’s the rum?)
Keeping a positive attitude is one of the hardest things to maintain in this business. Rejections swoop in on owl mails or the forest echoes with mockingjay choruses. Emails, twitter and texts speed these responses. Yes, the agony is quick these days, isn’t it? And so, that brings us back to the importance of staying positive, of looking ahead, of setting your eyes upon a BIG goal and meeting lesser goals head on. (Of feasting your eyes upon that horizon… and really bad eggs.)
I’m blessed to be celebrating several achievements this week. So far, I’ve received my edits, turned them around and sent them back to my editor and received my unedited galleys for reviews. But this week, I received my galley edits. Galley edits are the last time you can make any corrections or minimal changes to a book before it goes back to editors and then is sent out to the public. Going through galley edits is like reading a book, in book form. (Oh, and it’s WAY cool!)
But getting here was only a dream until this past June. Twenty years ago, raising four small children, I didn’t think I’d ever see the day one of my books would be available to readers. Dreams do come true however. This week my book showed up on Goodreads and Amazon for pre-order. This week I got my promo items, stress bones (muahahaha! for name recognition) and pens.
This week I got my very first book cover. (It’s like pirate treasure.)
How did I get here? Small goals merging together to form BIG goals. Twenty years with lots of living in between is what it took to mold me into the writer I am today. I didn’t write over the entire twenty years. There were times when I didn’t write at all because my children needed me. I wasn’t able to seriously focus on writing until seven years ago, when my children were nearly all grown. But all that time I’d held goals in my heart, cherishing them, feeding them, living with the dream that one day I would get that call or email telling me someone wanted to publish my books.
There is so much talent in the tea room every day. As I share my experiences here, I want you to know that I’ve been there. I’ve been down and out, at my wit’s end, crumbling to pieces, mending my heart, renewing desire and motivation, pumping myself up to get out in the ring again. The irony is I was at the end of my rope earlier this year, upset about some contest results. When out of nowhere I get a call from an agent I’d submitted to nearly a year before. She spoke with me for two hours on the phone, encouraging me not to quit, never to give up. And one month later, Duke By Day, Rogue By Night was accepted by Crimson Romance, followed by two more books. Who knew?
Well, if I’d quit, I never would have known. Stay the course, mates. Continue to focus heavily on your dreams. Life is well worth the effort. Hey, I’m proof!
What do you do to boost your spirits when things get you down? And what kinds of advice can you share with others who eat those really bad eggs?