Is it really possible that I haven’t written a blog post since last August?
Shame on me.
But I’ve been busy. Writing other things. And I have some good news to share. My short story collection, Mating and Other Stories (the title will most likely change), will be published by a very good small press out of North Carolina, Press 53, this fall! So yes. That’s huge. Affirming. Thank you, Press 53! (Go and check them out. They publish beautiful, fine books, and I’ll be proud to be counted among their authors.)
And that’s not all.
Last fall, I met an agent at a conference who expressed interest in my novel. I sent her the manuscript, and two months went by without a word. I figured it had landed in her wastebasket, but then I heard from her. She would look at it again if I were willing to do some revisions. Willing? What do you say to that except yes, yes, yes? At first, the task seemed impossible, but deep down, I knew her observations were spot-on. I went to work, tackling one issue at a time. I hardly came up for air, and when I finally did, about three weeks later, I had a stronger book. I sent the revised manuscript back to the agent. I have yet to hear, but even if she ultimately turns it down, I know the book is better for having done the hard work. It’ll be more ready for the next person who asks to see it.
There’s no end to the saga yet.
Believe me, I’ll let you know when or if there is, especially if it’s good news. But I hope this post will encourage those of you who, like me, are “trying” to publish the traditional way. Yes, sometimes writers get lucky. Sometimes it’s about the breaks, about being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, having someone recommend you to his or her agent. But it’s always, always about writing the best book you possibly can. Sometimes, it’s about perseverance. It’s about doing the work–whatever it takes–to get better. I’m convinced that with every short story or novel I write, the work gets stronger. Even when a piece “fails,” when I put it aside believing I’ll never pick it up again, I know that I learned something in the process.
Curious to know what brought me back to the blog?
This post is a loose take on the prompts provided by a fine group of writers at Wordsmith Studio in celebration of the group’s third anniversary. I’ve known many of them since 2012, when a bunch of us enrolled in Robert Lee Brewer’s 30-day Platform Challenge. We were eager to learn how to put ourselves “out there” as writers. We didn’t realize then that the challenge would lead to a group of writers who are still together, celebrating when things go well, holding each others’ hands when they don’t, sharing knowledge, and often, a little humor to keep us going.
So thank you, Wordsmith Studio friends, for prompting me to come back to the blog to catch you up on what’s happening in my writing life. Thanks for tolerating my long silences and welcoming me back when I drop in now and then.
And thanks to you readers, if you’ve found your way back here after such a long hiatus. I’ll try to do better, but I should tell you that I’ve begun a new novel, and if it takes off and really wants to be written—well, you know where I’ll be!
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