You know the old saying, "If I knew then what I know now..." Ah, yes. We'd all be a lot richer, thinner, smarter, happier. Or perhaps we'd make exactly the same choices now that we made then, I don't know.
There are a few incidents in my life I would definitely have done differently had I known then what I know now.
I wouldn't have permed my hair multiple times over throughout the eighties.
I would have eaten more vegetables and stayed away from rum.
I would have forced myself to be more adventurous.
I would have traveled the world...
But I digress.
What about when it comes to writing? This is a question I will often ask in an author interview. I can answer it with relative ease myself. But what I can't answer is whether, if I knew the hard road ahead when I made the decision to write for publication, I would have gone ahead with it.
It's a tough question, because everyone's journey is different. I would never tell anyone not to write a book if that is what is in their heart. Of course they must. But what of the young author who has no idea of the road ahead, what must I say then?
I always believe honesty is the best policy.
It is a hard journey.
Go to any author's blog, published or not, and you will find the exact same words.
I can think of multiple careers just off the top of my head that are far easier and much more lucrative.
But okay, you don't want to be a garbage collector or a psychiatrist.
You want to be a writer.
I do believe it's an illness. This isn't a bad thing, mind you, but there is no cure.
Contrary to popular belief, I hear publication is not the magic bullet to take away the angst of muddling through the manuscript that just isn't going anywhere. You will still hear voices in your head and forget to make supper. You probably won't win a Pulitzer. And you won't get rich and famous overnight. Well, I haven't read your book. Maybe you will.
But ask yourself this - I saw this question on a blog the other day - "Why do you want to be published?"
In other words, "Why the heck do you sit at the computer day after day slogging out words that may never be read by anyone other than yourself?!"
I didn't answer the question. I'm not sure I had an answer that day.
Why do we do things that make us crazy?
Why does the spouse of an alcoholic stay, clean up the mess, believe and trust that one day it's going to be okay?
Why does a cancer patient endure rounds of chemotherapy or radiation when surely, some days, dying would be easier?
Why does a parent wait for a prodigal to return home, no matter how many years it takes?
Why do I write?
For the same reason.
Hope. Faith. Love.
This is who I am. This is what I am called to do.
And more than that, I have a sure hope in Him, the One who called me to this, the One who carries me through it, and the One who will see it through to completion.
God never starts anything He does not intend to finish.
Do I know frustration? Yes. Do I know rejection? Oh, yes. Do I know the feeling of just wanting to give up when it all seems worthless and futile? Of course I do. That's how hard it is.
But there are rewards. Glimpses of hope that assure me I am in the right place.
At the moment I have three publishers looking at a complete manuscript. Three.
Even a year ago I could not have imagined being in such a place.
Yes, it's true, all three could reject the story. I know that. I'm prepared for that, even though I know I'll probably cry like a baby for a bit (Remember I told you it was hard), but will it make me give up?
I doubt it.
Because all it takes is one yes.
I've said it before. I'll say it again.
Because I need to believe it.
Would I have done anything differently in my journey to publication?
I would have learned more sooner. Found fellow writers and mentors to learn from. I would have discarded the notion that I knew enough to make it in the world of publishing. I will never know enough.
But probably the biggest thing I would change if I could - I would have had more faith.
And in God.
Why do it?
Because it's who I am. And I love it.
"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13