Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What it Takes to Get Published

Yesterday, Brenda Minton got a call she's been waiting years for. Harlequin Love Inspired has offered her a contract for her book ROSE COLORED GLASSES, which has been scheduled for release sometime in the summer 2007.

How cool is that?

Really, really cool. You see, she's been writing for years, submitting for years. Getting rejected for years. A few months back she made her very first sale and she was excited. Rightfully so. But she still wanted to be a Love Inspired author. It was her dream, her goal, her passion. In the years since we met, I've ridden the ups and downs of the publishing world roller coaster with Brenda, watching as editor after editor nibbled on a manuscript, seemed to like the taste, only to take a bigger bite and spit the whole thing back out. Did Brenda whine? Did she complain? Did she talk about quitting?

Of course she did. But then she got back in there and tried again. And again. And again.

And she didn't just try. She worked. She studied. She applied herself to the craft of writing and the art of storytelling. She didn't just talk about writing, she wrote. Because of that, she has become what she's always dreamed of being.

Which brings me to the title of this blog. What does it take to get published? It takes hard work, persistence in the face of adversity, self-discipline, a teachable spirit. And it takes failure.

Yes, as painful as it is to admit, most of us won't sell our first manuscript (as Brenda Coulter, another Love Inspired author did). Most of us will be rejected once, twice, twenty times. To succeed at writing, we must be willing to fail. Sometimes more than once. Sometimes so many times that we're raw and wounded from the experience. Then, raw and wounded or not, we've got to be willing to get up and go after the dream again. Just like Brenda did. Just like so many other authors have.

To get published we've got to be more afraid of not succeeding than we are of failing.

Are you?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

To Blog or Not

Okay, I admit it. I have absolutely nothing to say that hasn't been said on one blog or another. I've got no claim to fame, no special insight that will speed a pre-pubbed author to publication, no parenting advice that will ease anyone's struggles, no homeschool secrets that will make a long day run smoothly, no deep spiritual thoughts that will aid someone else's journey. I've racked my brain for something insightful and witty, and have come up blank. My head is as empty of ideas as this blog has been of, well, blog.

But my husband set this up for me and I can't just keep leaving it blank.

And, yet, I can't quite get myself to fill it.

It's like that first page of a manuscript - so fresh, so new, so frighteningly full of promise that it seems almost a shame to begin. After all, the reality of what it will become can't be even close to what it should be.

Whatever that is.

Which brings me to another problem - I have no idea what I want this to be.

Certainly not a journal. Though I have to admit I leaned toward that for a while. Why not just put my deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams, and fears down on this blank, white screen? After all, who's going to read it? There are a gazillion blogs out there and most never get read. I've got no worries that the world will find me here and learn my darkest secrets (not that I have any time for dark secrets).

Fortunately, sanity has prevailed and, thanks to Brenda Minton (a dear friend whose first book will be out this summer), I've decided against baring my soul on-line.

Which leaves me with the same problem - what should this blog be? Writing related? Homeschool related? Parenting related?

I think if I were my husband I'd know. I'm sure if I asked my family they'd have some ideas. My friends could help, too. But I haven't asked anyone. I've just sat here for weeks wondering what to write.

I guess I'll have to approach this as I do my writing - in solitary angst, searching for my voice, finding my brand, deciding what fits me, fits my life, gives a peek at who I am without revealing it all.

Hmmm, the page is speckled with letters.

And I'm done. For now. Maybe next time I'll actually have something to say.