A writer quickly learns there are various stages in the journey to publication. Some hold more value than others. All these stages are steps up the ladder to success, depending on how you define success. Here's a brief glance at my journey thus far.
Born - took first breath - began writing. Okay, I skipped a few years there. You get the idea.
I guess I began writing seriously - submitting for publication- when I was in my twenties. What made me think I was worthy of publication? Actually, I think it was because I showed the story I was writing to a couple of friends, and they told me I was good. That was the turning point for me, going from writing stories because I enjoyed it to writing stories because I was good at it.
Maybe some people look at their writing and just know they're good. I'm not one of them. I still struggle with this concept of believing in myself. Some days I believe I can do it, other days I question my sanity.
As the years went by and I kept writing, I knew I couldn't stop. I was having way too much fun. I made a lot of connections online, formed friendships with other writers that I wouldn't trade in for anything. I found critique partners that were invaluable to me. This is a VERY important part of the process. If you don't have fellow writers in your life to support, encourage and teach you, go find some right now!
Even with all the rejections pouring into my mailbox, they told me not to give up, I was almostthere. So what if almostturned into nineteen years, who's counting? Yes, I can actually laugh about that now. It is a long time to hold onto a dream. But I have to tell you, I wouldn't trade a minute of it. New writers are probably shaking their heads and asking why? Why would you put yourself through that for so long? Why not just give up? I've wondered the same. But I think I've finally realized what it is that keeps me going.
This is who I am.
I am a writer. Whether or not I am ever privileged enough to hold a book in my hands with my name on the cover is almost irrelevant. Yes, I am working toward that goal. But if somebody told me it would never happen, that wouldn't stop me from writing.
This is a good place to be.
I hated my twenties. I was insecure and stupid and naive enough to think publication was just around the corner. My thirties were just as bad, except I did a lot of spiritual growing during that time period, took a break from writing for a while and re-assessed my life and the way I lived it.
Now that I'm three years into my forties, I'm excited about this journey. Despite all the frustrations and the ups and downs that are part of the process, I love being a writer. I love the people in my writing community and I love my agent. Believe me, there were many years when I didn't believe I would ever have an agent. But now I do. One who has just spent weeks of her time editing my manuscript to make it better. Now it's up to me to go back in, fix the problems and polish the prose, with the end result being a book that will be in the running for publication. If she didn't believe that were possible, she wouldn't be my agent. That's a huge encouragement to me. Although it's going to mean work, it also means I'm a lot higher up on that ladder than I used to be. And that's exciting. It doesn't really matter that it's taken this long or may take even longer, it's where I'm supposed to be.
All this rambling is really to encourage anyone reading this who is just starting out or ready to give up. Don't lose hope. If you are truly called to be a writer, if you are willing to put time and effort into learning your craft, listening to others and improving your writing with every draft you turn in, you will get there. It may not happen over night. It probably won't happen the way you envision it at all. But I can tell you this, if it's God's will for you, you'll be rewarded either way.