Seven years ago I read Stephen King’s book On Writing. One of the many things that stuck out in my mind from that book was the rejection he went through before he finally had someone say “yes”. He had a nail in the wall where he hung rejection letter after rejection letter.
It is like that for many of us as writers. Your masterpiece has to grab an unbiased agent or publisher who reads through hundreds of other masterpieces. Seven years ago I had an agent in New York ask for the manuscript of my book The Weaver after reading my query and a chapter from the book. I thought I had hit the lottery.
It wasn’t meant to be. She didn’t accept my book. This was hard on me. With life going on: children, a full time teaching job, a mother with dementia, and the many other things that life throws at you, I gave up on my dream. Everything else got in the way of writing, even though writing made me feel alive.
But throughout this time, my books, The Weaver, The Watcher, and Ruby Slips and Poker Chips sat on my computer. I’d play around with them once in awhile, but never really tried again.
A friend of mine that I worked with ended up self-publishing one of her books. I watched her go through the process and asked her a lot of questions, but still questioned whether it was something I could do. But I also knew that I wanted to share my characters with the world.
In July, I noticed a writing contest on Facebook called Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Contest. I was leaving in a few days for vacation with my family, but decided to take the leap and enter Ruby Slips and Poker Chips into the contest. While I was in Ireland, I found out I was a finalist in the contest. For the first time, I was given constructive feedback on my writing, but also high praise. A week later, I found out that I won the contest and will more than likely publish my book.
So, if you are in the throes, don’t give up. Don’t waste seven years like I did. Take the leap and find what motivates you to keep writing. For me, it is my characters and the worlds I’ve created for them.