My debut novel UNANCHORED releases in less than a month.
But UNANCHORED is not the first book I’ve ever written.
I wanted to take the opportunity to share my writing journey with others who might be feeling discouraged with the process. I know that I feel the ups and downs of this journey every single day, and if we don’t have a community to lean on, it makes it that much harder to press onward.
I want to share my personal journey in a few parts. Otherwise, it’d get too long and boring to throw it all out at once.
Let us begin.
First of all, this is what I’ve always wanted to do: write. I just had no idea WHAT I wanted to write. I went to college and got my bachelor’s degree in English and Language Arts, with the intention of one day becoming a writer. I thought maybe magazine articles were the way to go. They’re voice-y and fun, right? But I didn’t want anyone else telling me what I could or couldn’t write, and it seemed that any lucrative magazine job required me to move far, far away. Not happening.
Then I got the idea to write self-help books. I weirdly love to read them and be told how to improve my life, so why not write them?! At first, I figured I could write for teen girls, because I worked with our youth at church and loved talking through deep issues with the young women. That idea flopped.
I became a wife and mother, and voila! I wanted to write about my struggles and conquering there, so I started that book. I wrote about three chapters and bored myself to tears. So much for that.
In 2013, my husband accepted a job a state over. I didn’t want to go. (Remember that whole moving far away aversion? Yeah…) So, in early 2014, we packed up our lives and headed to central Pennsylvania. We had two children, not quite two and four years old. We lived in a rental house, and I had no job, no family nearby, and my social life consisted of Sunday morning church services.
I got a bit lonely. So, I created my own friends. (Why would you not do that?) I sat down with my computer and started hammering out a young adult fantasy about dreams and friendships. I loved that world and spent every spare minute in my day there. Shortly after I finished that book, I hammered out the sequel. It took me almost no time at all.
There was a small problem, though. My knowledge of publishing was just a bit on the naïve side. I thought you just had to finish a book, proofread it, then put it on a disc and send it off to a publishing company. Bing-bang-boom! You’ve got yourself a New York Times Best-Seller!
Yup. That’s what I truly thought happened.
Once I actually researched how to navigate the process, I began querying the first book in my DREAM SEEKERS series.
I accepted help from 1.5 critique partners—my first ever experience with an outside source helping me edit my work—and then I saw fit to query that beast.
I entered every writing contest I could find with no success. I queried approximately 200+ agents and received one full request that turned into an immediate form rejection.
That was my only story idea. I had edited it and rewrote it continuously for almost two years! I had a sequel ready to go! How could agents not like it???
I wanted to give up. I had nothing else. I’d written two whole books! I put in the work! That should get me where I wanted to go!
National Novel Writing Month crept up on me, and I really wanted to participate with the super-cool group of writers I’d found, but I had nothing to write.
And then I started thinking pirate-y thoughts…
(Come back later for Part 2! I’m not done yet!)