Tuesday, May 3, 2016


This is an article for my local RWA newsletter. I've decided to get braver and publish more articles. I know the editor has an open policy about publishing just about anything the chapter members throw at her. And, uh, I am the editor so why would I turn down my own work when I am happy to get things from others?

Do you remember the first time you sat down with the intention of writing a novel? Wasn't that brave?

Or maybe over-confident and naive?

There have been a hundred moments of bravery in my writing career. A thousand moments.

When I finally finished a book at about the same time I joined the RWA (bravely admitting I wanted to be a real, live romance author), I was so pleased with myself that I pitched to an agent who presented to the chapter. I haven't looked back at the story in years and years, but she probably read the synopsis and the first few pages and said, "Oh HECK no."

I queried some other agents and edited that thing and had my brand new critique partners read it. And eventually, it and the two sequels (one of which I really want to glean the story line from and rewrite) went in a drawer. They're archived on a thumb drive somewhere.

Sometimes after a rejection, negative comments from a critique partner, or bad review, it is an act of bravery to get back to writing.

And then another act of bravery to show it to your critique partners. And another to query agents and publishers. Or to send it to an editor of any sort. This might be the bravest thing any writer does: showing their work to an industry professional.

And then, there's a chance that it will be published. Your mother/daughter/sister/best friend/worst enemy might read it. And they're all judging you. And then you send it out for reviews and many of them don't even open it. Most never review it. Then someone does and....they don't like it.

("Don't read your reviews!" they all say. But when you have exactly three reviews, which is a problem in itself, you might take a glance...)

But we bravely--or naively--keep writing anyway. "Maybe this next one, I'll figure out the essentials of the main character before I reach the end and have to edit them all in!" "Maybe this time I'll get the plot points in all the right places before the third round of edits!" "Maybe this time they'll love me!"

Aye, there's the rub.

Because all our acts of bravery and creation and more bravery and distribution are supposed to lead to someone reading what we write. And we all want to be loved. Or at least we want to be read.

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