We’ve all been there. That moment in your writing career where you ask yourself, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this? I’m not published, there’s nothing but rejection letters on the horizon, my spouse is wondering when some green will come of all this effort. I think I should move on to something else.”
DON’T!!! Don’t give up. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep the faith. If it happened for me, it will happen for you.
I’ve had that moment twice in the past three years. One was at the very beginning of my writing career. I had written half of a manuscript. Things weren’t going well. I had 20,000 words, nothing to do with them, no real direction. Then two things happened.
One, my contact in Metro Homicide offered to look at what I’d written and give me some feedback. He did, and he called me and told me it was really good stuff. Very realistic. WHOA, NELLY! A homicide detective thinks my work is realistic? He likes my characters? Well, maybe I need to give this a second thought.
The second was something much more ephemeral, ridiculous, really. I was reading one of my magazines (I’m addicted to magazines, by the way. I have three that I’m religious about – People, for the book reviews, Elle, for the fashion and the book reviews, and Architectural Digest. Random compilation, I know, but hey, my tastes range.)
So I’m reading Elle, and at the end of the magazine there’s the astrology and numerology section. Now, I’m not a big believer in all that. But I read them anyway, just because sometimes it’s fun.
My numerology number is 7. I flipped open the page, went to my entry and saw this:
"It’s time to come out of hibernation and reconnect with the world. You are prepared and armed for battle, and finally have an opportunity to put months of study and hard work to the test. Don’t allow fear of failure to inhibit you. This month is like one long “now or never” moment. Stand up and be counted. Allow your very real power and determination to vanquish any nagging insecurities. You must stop containing your potential. Now is the time to express it."
Wow. If that wasn’t the most timely kick in the butt. Here I was, doubting myself, doubting my ability to continue writing my first book, and I read that. It was exactly what I needed to hear (read) at the exact right moment. I decided that I needed to take this anonymous, non-personal advice, apply it, and quit whining. I finished the book. It was more of a novella, and it was terrible. But it had sparks of promise, which I’ve talked about in past posts.
Should I credit a numerology column for helping my career? Not in so many ways. What I believe happened was someone told me I was going to make it. Now, I have no idea who that someone is. I’m not a practitioner, I’m sure that this person who writes these entries has a fascinating background that led to doing numerology for a woman’s fashion magazine. But whoever it was, I need to say thank you. Thank you for reminding me to keep the faith.
So, in a much less personal manner, that’s what I’m telling you. Keep the faith. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. If you think you’re a nobody, so will everyone else. If you treat yourself and your writing career with the respect you deserve, others will too. This is a difficult profession. You aren’t alone when you wonder why you’re putting yourself through the aches and pains of writing novels, or short stories, or articles, and getting them published. But if you keep the faith, keep plugging, keep writing and submitting and believe in yourself, and your abilities, the opportunities will come.
When was that second moment, you ask? Right before I landed my deal. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.
Wine of the Week – D’Arenberg “The Footbolt” McLaren Vale Shiraz, South Australia