KEEPING THE FAITH, my 500th post!
Last month I had the honour of being the featured author of Wendy Laharnar CALAMITY’S CORNER, an ezine dedicated to sharing books, films places and leisure pursuits.
AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
JOYLENE NOWELL BUTLER
Her books are riveting. She’ll take you on a non-stop rollercoaster ride of suspense and intrigue.
Joylene Nowell Butler draws on her Métis Heritage when spinning compelling novels about fascinating, yet seemingly grass- roots Canadians.
Her mother sparked Joylene’s love of writing when she gave her a diary at age 8. It wasn’t long until Joylene realized that writing made her feel alive.
Broken But Not Dead
Visit Joylene at her website
No one writes novels so they can torture themselves by collecting rejections. That would be silly. We write because it gives us great joy and because it’s who we are. It’s the one thing we love to do even though we agonize over every word.
While a few authors are lucky enough to receive a contract the first time out, the rest of us spend years learning our craft and dodging bullets from critiques. When the time is right, when we’re sure we can’t make our stories any better, we query agents and publishers because that’s step three in the process. If we’ve been around long enough, we’ve heard the rumours. We know the business is changing. We know publishers are finicky and searching for the next JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer or Stieg Larsson. But we persist because we could no sooner stop writing than we could give up breathing.
Or so we think.
What does happen exactly? Is it after opening rejection letter number twenty suddenly all that determination and confidence shatters? There’s a reckoning, and instantly you’re inconsolably and irrevocably certain you can’t do this any longer. No more queries. No more failure. No more writing.
I tried once. Then one day I was making the bed and it occurred to me that the characters running around inside my head weren’t leaving until I wrote their story. I threw the pillowcases and duvet to the floor, made a beeline for my computer, and began work on my fifth manuscript Broken but not Dead. That was roughly twelve years after I started writing. Twelve more years passed before my first novel Dead Witness was published.
You meet authors online everyday who have similar stories to tell. You probably know gifted, prolific writers who have yet to be published. And if you’re not published yourself, you begin to wonder, if this talented writer can’t find a publisher, what are my chances?
How do you maintain your conviction after collecting a drawer full of rejections? How do you fill that empty void inside? How do you rid yourself of the negative inner voice yelling, I’m a failure.
How do I keep the faith?
When interviewers ask me that, I jokingly reply that I was too stubborn to quit. But the truth is, I couldn’t. Even when I had doubts, and I had plenty, I enjoyed writing too much. Even when it felt like I had quit, I was actually writing inside my head.
We’re luckier than most artists. We have samples of excellent writing at our fingertips. We can dissect books we admire and see for ourselves how they work. We’re privy to generous teachers who are willing to teach us everything they know. We’re not under a deadline. We can write, edit, revise, and rewrite to our heart’s content.
As writers, we belong to an elite group. We understand the driving force behind every writer. We’ve all experienced the crushing blow of rejection. We’re special because we can learn to create vivid, disturbing, enchanting stories about characters that feel real and that the reader will care about.
It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes days, weeks, years of sweat, heartache and gut wrenching determination. Don’t give up. That would be too easy. Know that if you don’t understand the origin of this desire to write, it’s okay. Just say, Thank you and keep writing.
Believe in yourself.
Believe in your ability, and learn everything you can about your craft. It may take awhile, but your dream will come true. Keep the faith. You have nothing to lose.
If you’re interested in subscribing to Wendy’s ezine, send her an email request at wlahar at bigpond doc com. Calamity’s Corner is also chalk full of writing tips, news, marketing links, and pet of the month.