For most of you reading the title of this post, lascivious thoughts just sprang to mind. Naughty you. <g> Sorry to disappoint, but today my post is directed to those out there who want to be a published author, but who have not yet reached this goal.
I have a question for you: “How bad do you want it?” Really, and truly?
This phrase has been with me for many, many years. It’s turned into my beacon, and it’s a constant reminder of my desire to be published. Those moments when I think I don’t want to write, I ask myself, how bad do I want to be a writer? My answer always throws me back on track.
Before I found my track, though, life threw me ups and downs. There were times I would stow away and write for days. Other times I’d go months without a significant written word. Yes, I had excuses. Yes, I had my reasons. Everything you could imagine, I would throw out there for not buckling down to write. I was in school full time, I worked full time, my relationship was too stressful to focus on writing, I had lost my job, I had been too depressed or too happy to stop to write. Damn, life’s simply too busy for me write! I would often bemoan the many roadblocks I created for myself. I lived in a constant spoiled pity-party and didn’t even know it.
So far, does any of this sound familiar? The excuses, the dreams, the whatever’s?
The older I became, the busyness of my life naturally increased as well. I did the “if I would have known then what I know now,” evaluation and it hit me, if I thought I didn’t have time to write when I was single, how could I think I’d have time to write now that I was married? Then, how could I have time to write when I had a baby? And on and on.
Down the road and three little wee ones later, I reversed the evaluation. I knew that a couple years down the road my life would be even more full, and I’d inevitably look back to “now,” and cry over the fact I could have been writing.
Well, for me, during this time I was not making excuses because I didn’t want to be a published author, but I made excuses because I didn’t want my dream bad enough.
Let me say that again. I did not want my dream bad enough.
This little nugget of wisdom, as hard as it was for me to swallow, woke me up to my reality. I realized, deep down, I wanted my dream and damn it, I had to get off my ass and stop making excuses and write.
So this is what I did. Ready?
I made the time to write, and I wrote. So simple, but so freaking hard. I finally made writing a priority.
At first, I screwed up. I deleted a lot, threw away a lot of paper. I cried that my stories weren’t going anywhere. Then I finally put together some stories that made sense. I had my writing critiqued. A lot. I edited. A lot. I revised. I submitted. ~stop~ I made it this far. I went through the process of submitting my writing for consideration for publication.
Then I received my rejections. My, “no thank you’s.” My, “try again some other time,” and even, “you’re not what our readers want.” Ouch. On the outside, I expected this as I’d heard about rejection chains from everyone. Inside, it hurt. I think it does for everyone who makes themselves vulnerable in such a way. But I didn’t give up because I wanted my dream too much.
I edited and revised and submitted some more and finally – finally, found my first home. Here at TEB in fact, with a contemporary ménage, The Deciding Factor.
Now, almost a year later, I am multi-published with plans for more stories to see publication in the next year. I am here. I am published – hear me roar! <g>
At this point, I’ve succeeded in accomplishing my goal of being published, but my dream is not over. Not by a long shot. Now the dream adjusts and rearranges itself. Now my dreams include how many stories, what kinds of stories, where and what can I do that was better than before? I don’t want to fade away. Not yet. I’m just beginning. Okay, I’ll admit I’m not as prolific as I want to be, but I’m writing every chance I can. Even if my publishing list is minor compared to other authors, that’s alright. I do what I can, when I can. And I. Am. Loving. Every. Minute. You will too.
On a closing note, maybe you need to sit down and be honest with yourself. Do you truly have the dream to be published – and to do all that getting there and staying there entails? If not, that’s okay. Recognize this and move on. Enjoy reading as opposed to writing. You’ll discover other dreams.
For those of you who do want this bad enough, remember, let nothing stand in your way. Every writer is busy in some way or another. Let’s put it this way, if I can find the time to write around: home schooling three children, a husband who works nights, taking care of my aging parents, being active in my church, being active in my kids extracurricular activities, not to mention the various tasks of day-to-day life, you can find the time to write as well.
Best of luck to you, and have a Happy Saturday!
Ayla Ruse writes for Total E-Bound and for Changeling Press. Visit her at her blog: www.aylaruse.blogspot.com.