A Little Girl’s Story:
A long time ago, there was a little girl who loved to read everything she could get her hands on, from children’s books to encyclopedias to cereal boxes. It didn’t matter.
Then one day she grew up and decided, “I can write a book.”
Ok, it’s me. I was that little girl.
There were many times when I wanted to write a book, but kids, work, buying groceries and doing laundry always got in the way (Yes, I realize these are all excuses).
I carried these excuses for years, but honestly, I think I needed all the life experience I had before I could even attempt to write a novel. When the pandemic hit, I was retired and living in an RV. Since I wasn’t going anywhere and I didn’t have some of those excuses anymore, now was my chance.
I was finally going to write a book!
I finally sat down with my iPad and started vomiting out words. That’s how you write a book, isn’t it? Just put words down. I mean, go to the bookstore and look. There are thousands of books, so obviously it’s not hard. So I dove in with no formal training and a complete lack of adult supervision!
I wrote and wrote, and all these “amazing” words flowed from my fingers until I had an 87,000-word masterpiece.
As soon as I typed “The End,” I began planning all my remarks for Jimmy, Conan, Ellen, Oprah’s book club, etc. I didn’t need anyone to beta read for me. Honestly I didn’t even know what that meant. I knew I needed an agent, so I went to some of my favorite books and looked up the author’s agent and sent them query letters.
Imagine how stunned I was when the first rejection rolled in, followed quickly by many more.
But…but…but my novel is brilliant. It’s clever. It’s not like anything else out there. There must be some mistake!
Then I put on my “impartial glasses” and sat down to find the errors. And the more I read, the more it was clear—it was an unedited dumpster fire of epic proportions!
I got some feedback from a very talented writer friend who pointed me in the right direction, and I sat back down with this travesty of words and wanted to crawl under a rock! It was really awful! I almost hit the delete button and looked for another hobby, but I didn’t. Because I wanted this. I had loved books my whole life and many times they were my only friends. So I wanted to give back that to someone like me. I wanted to walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf (or preferably a big display by the front)!
I reached out for training and supervision. Found the writing community and other struggling writers. Found blogs, craft books and podcasts. I found agents who were willing to answer questions and offer advice. Then I found my writing peeps and some wonderful friends who gave me valuable critiques of my work.
But mostly, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who wanted to crawl under a rock; in fact, there were so many we would need a really bit rock!
The point is, we all make mistakes. We all fall down. We all have days we wonder why we are doing this. And that’s ok. You know why? Because, as corny as it sounds, we are all human.
I wish I could say right now that dumpster fire had turned into a New York Time’s bestseller and my calendar was full of appearances and book signings, but that hasn’t happened…yet! I still have days I question why I’m doing this but then I remember that little girl and how happy she was on library day at school and the feeling I still get when I walk into a bookstore.
Is this easy?
But am I going to give up?
Curious about some of our other member’s stories? Check out Jody Wenner’s publishing journey going solo and with a small press!
Already writing? How did you get started? How’s your journey going so far? Tell us your own writerly story bellow in the comments!
The Motley Writers Guild’s – Tammy Blakley
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