Every writer has a story. It’s that personal story of writing, selling, and becoming a successful published author. There is no timeline, no easy way; instead it comes down to facing the challenges and being strong enough to Just Do It!
How long did it take before our authors/friends finally got published? And how did they handle rejection, what kept them going? Read a bit of the following personal stories
“I started my first novel in 1999, and my fourth novel, Catching Genius, was published in 2007. I handled rejection in ever way imaginable. I was Zen, I cried, I raved, I ignored, I wailed, I rolled my eyes, I got mad, I sobbed, I cursed the powers that be, I shrugged, I e-mailed friends, I called friends, I drank wine. (You didn’t ask for advice on how YOU should handle it, but I’ve come to believe that you should just let yourself feel however you want to feel. Trying to make yourself not care only makes you feel worse. Just feel badly…then move on.) What kept me going? I hadn’t yet met my goal.”
“I left my day job to start writing in November 1994. It was May 2002 when I got the call that a publisher wanted to buy The Thin Pink Line as part of a two-book deal, so it took seven and a half years. Sure, I had no fun getting rejected for so long, but I kept going by writing book after book.”
“I started writing seriously as an attempt to be published in March of 2003 shortly after my son was born, and Real Life & Liars sold at auction on Feb. 22, 2008. So, almost five years exactly. It’s not overnight success, but I’ve also known writers to try for much longer. I kept going in part because I felt that giving up would have rendered pointless all my previous efforts. And it was not only my own effort at stake, but my family was sacrificing for this as well. I was spending household money on child care, on books and reference materials, postage. I tried to freelance as much as possible to offset this, but it was a reality that I was spending household money on this dream of mine. I also spent my time on this, time that I could have spent on them. So I felt I had to make all of this worthwhile by carrying on. If I gave up just because it was hard, what a waste!”
‘I decided I wanted to be a writer after I graduated college at age 23. I’m now debuting as a novelist seventeen years later. So that’s a lot of years of heartache over whether I have talent, whether I can make it professionally. But I was writing poetry, plays, personal essays. I was kind of getting everything out, very personally, and using these forms that aren’t the most marketable. It was definitely a leap in maturity when I finally decided to attempt true fiction. (I don’t presume that the personal is inherently immature and the fictional inherently mature–but it was that way for me.)
‘This specific book was very quick. I wrote and polished it in one year; subbed to agents for three months and got great representation; got a book deal in, I think, another four months. There wasn’t a lot of time to feel worried about it.
‘So, in sum: long, struggling apprenticeship of sorts, then a nice quick success. Before professional affirmation, I held onto the personal support of friends who insisted they connected with things I’d written.”