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By Lisa A. Adams
The crafting of good stories takes time, energy, and passion. From conception to completion, the process can be draining, both physically and emotionally. I don't think I really ever understood this when I first dreamed of becoming a published author. But, let's just say I have learned my lesson.
The conception of a story is usually the best time. You are at a high. Ideas are pouring from your brain like water from a faucet, and your fingers on the keyboard can't fly fast enough to get it all down. Plot points, characters, twists, turns, and the ending whiz through the air.
Once the writing begins, the process slows. Some struggle with the wording, others with the grammar. I myself start with an outline and find my characters going in a completely different direction. Frustration starts to take hold and this is the author's first test. Do they continue, or do they cave to the aggravation?
Those who stick with it, muddle through the murky depths of the unknown. Dredging forward into the abyss, they are constantly searching for the preverbal light at the end of the tunnel. Spotting the light, or the end, nearing causing the pulse to quicken. The heart races as the words magically appear on the screen: The End.
Sadly, many authors only get that far. They take their master piece and hide it away for the world to discover long after they have departed. Fear of rejection, paralyzes them in that safe zone. They are just shy of their dream, but they cannot go any further. I know. I was one of these people.
I started writing about ten years ago. Following the very procedures outlined in the paragraphs above. With the prodding of a few very supportive people, I sent out my first submission seven years ago. The turnaround time was three to four months, and I stalked the mailbox daily after just seven weeks. On the eighth week, I was surprised to see a response. With my heart in my throat, I tore open the envelope to read my form rejection letter. Crushed by the news, I slid the submission in a filing cabinet and there it still sits today.
It took me another year before I got up the courage to send anything else out, and it too was met with a rejection. Though this time, I had personal feedback from an editor. I sent a thank you card to her for her time and didn't submit anything again for another year.
It was four years ago that I read Stephen King's writing memoir On Writing. I devoured his words, and filled myself up with more confidence than I could ever imagine. I found new blogs to follow, entered in contests, submitted almost everything I wrote, and was still met with rejection.
I had read somewhere along the lines, that a writer wasn't ready to be published until they had an inch and a half worth of rejection letters. I have a binder that I kept all my rejections in. My husband thought it as morbid, a symbol of all of my failures. I kept my chin up, and told him it would be a failure if the binder didn't grow.
Just last summer, July 16th,2012 to be exact, I received my first acceptance. Bouncing through my house, and calling everyone I knew was just the tip of the iceberg. Then came the work. Editing, editing, and more editing.
Surprisingly, I was told that many authors drop out during this period. We've hit a low again, muddling through that icky space of not knowing. But, if you stick it out it does get better. After editing, there is cover art, the final galley, and ultimately release day!
But wait! There's more! The work starts up all over again. The marketing phase begins and you're pushing each day to promote your book without being aggravating to your public. Walking the fine line of building a success becomes tedious. Is it all really worth it?
The short answer? Yes!