One question I see in nearly every author interview is “When did you know you wanted to be a writer?” For me, a better question would be “When did you let go of the fear of failure and start pursuing your dreams?”
You see, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Well, okay, maybe not always, but for at least the past thirty-five years. . . which, let’s face it, is a really long time. I was always telling my friends and family that one day I was going to be an author. I even sat down a few times and attempted to write, but I’d get distracted and never complete a project.
So, what changed? Well, I heard about a pitch contest for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. I told my husband, Mountain Man, about the pitch. Actually it was all I could talk about for days. Mountain Man finally told me to either enter the contest or stop talking about being published. He said, “One day is now. You either do it, or stop talking about it.” Of course, I had to ask, “But what if I fail?” To which, he replied, “Then you fail. But one thing is certain, you will never succeed if you don’t try.” [Boy is that man smart!]
That was in the spring of 2013. When I pitched my 100 word blurb, I received a request to submit a proposal (synopsis plus first three chapters). I couldn’t believe it! I hurried and prepared my proposal and sent it off. Not surprisingly, that manuscript received a rejection. Actually, it was a very nice rejection with lots of positives. The main thing I learned was being a good storyteller does not equal being a good writer.
Of course, I pouted for a couple of months, and I set the manuscript aside and never finished it.
Now, I was faced with a dilemma. You see, I told everyone (including my 7th grade students) that I had written a book and was trying to get published. So what now?
I had two choices. Either be a quitter and teach my students that when things don’t go their way they need to give up, or try again and teach my students that hard work is the only way to achieve their dreams.
Two years have passed since that first manuscript winged its way across the Internet to an editor’s inbox. Since that time, I’ve participated in two more pitch contest. During Love Inspired Suspense’s Search for a Killer Voice contest, my manuscript made it to the final round. This time, I received a request to revise and resubmit. It took me a couple of months to wrap my mind around the changes that needed made, but five months later, I sent the revised manuscript back to the editor. I’m waiting to hear the outcome, but I suspect I missed the mark and that manuscript still needs a bit of work.
In the meantime, I entered this year’s Love Inspired pitch contest, Blurb to Book. I happy to say I made it to the final round and wrote another full manuscript within a four month timeframe. My completed manuscript is in the hands of the editors. So now I wait.
Will this manuscript will be the one that garners me the much coveted call from the editor? Only time will tell.