Today I wanted to have a little chat about perseverance.
Who am I? Well, probably no one you’ve ever heard of.
But I am an expert on my best friends, fear and self-doubt. So I thought this might be a good topic for me to tackle, and tell you the story all about how my writing career got flipped turned upside down.
Picture it: 2010…..an emotionally charged new mom with little sleep, with a traveling husband, decided to write a book. Friends and family encouraged her, said her words were great, and she should try and get it published. Naive mom decided, yes, this sounds like a great idea. If friends and family love it, the rest of the world surely would as well.
Well, let’s just say reality hit me hard. Rejections ate my soul. And many times I wanted to give up. But there’s something special about the writing community, and once they grab hold of you, they don’t let go. They don’t let you give up. They become your friends who pull you off ledges, reel you in from the sea of self-loathing, and make you keep going. Because while friends and family may be supportive and encouraging, writing friends understand what you’re going through on a level no one else ever will.
How does one obtain said writerly friends? Lots of ways. Join local chapters of associations, writers guilds, enter online contests, find writing forums. Some of my best friends have come from Twitter and writing contests online. And if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog post. Let’s face it, friends are cheaper than therapy and a hospital stay from alcohol poisoning.
But sometimes, fear and self-doubt still turn up like bad pennies or exes. And no matter how many times my friends talk me down from the walls, my writing life looks like this:
It’s hard when you pour your heart and soul into words on a page, and characters who live in your head finally make it to paper, but the world just doesn’t love them as much as you do. Trying to find a home for your book babies is a harsh business. And it plays with our head and hearts.
It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re facing a pile of rejections. How many times can you hear, well just write another book. Often times success doesn’t happen with your first book. Or even second or third. I’ve heard stories of people who wrote ten or fifteen books before ever landing an agent or publishing contract.
These stories never made me feel as encouraged as people probably meant them to be. Instead it turned me into:
Did you know there’s an actual scientific name for the hysteria I possess?
Suddenly, I was never going to ever get published. Everything I ever wrote sucked, and I would just sell insurance for the rest of my life. Because I was going on book number five, still unpublished and unagented.
Granted, the more books I wrote, the better my writing had become and more requests came my way. Over the years I’ve learned more about my craft, honed my skills, made tons of amazing friends, and even mentored others just starting out. And suddenly, things didn’t seem so bad.
Then one day one of my best writerly friends encouraged me to try writing a short story for her publisher who had a call for an anthology. She suggested I take a break from writing my usual stuff and just try writing something completely different. So I set out to write a short for a sexy anthology about uniformed heroes. I thought, why not.
While I sat waiting to hear back on the anthology, she encouraged me to write a novella for one of this publisher’s other special lines called Naughty Fairytales. My mainstay had always been science fiction and fantasy so I thought, well yeah I could totally write a sexy fairytale. So I did. And wrote one in a few days and subbed that.
And low and behold, that email came from the publisher and they wanted my short story for their anthology. Then they wanted my naughty fairytale too. And I totally sat at my computer looking something like this:
Suddenly I’m scrambling to set myself up a pen name and a whole new persona for my new writerly life writing sexy fun-time stories. I’m still trying to find an agent for my more mainstream novels. But now a whole new world has opened up for me on the side writing more romantic and erotic stories to pass the time. So sometimes you have to shake things up. Try something new. Success isn’t always what you think it may be.
There will be many hills and valleys. Many highs and lows. But the key to it all is perseverance.
For some, reaching their dreams may happen over night. Sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s knowing people. Sometimes it’s just dumb luck. Often times it’s hard work and just never giving up.
So if you’re at that point where you want to throw in the towel….maybe throw in the towel on one thing, but pick up another towel and snap that one around for a little while. Sometimes you just have to go in a different direction to achieve a goal. Will I give up on my other persona? Never. I’m just detouring and enjoying this new ride for a little while.
And on, February 13, 2015 my very first book was published with Evernight Publishing. UNBEARABLE, part of their naughty fairytale line.
And on February 27th, 2015 my short story came out in the Uniformed Hero anthology!
And on March 26th, 2015, the sequel to UNBEARABLE released. BAD APPLE. And it was an Editor’s Pick!
So, if you’re feeling down and out about life in the writing lane, don’t give up. Remember:
Wren Michaels hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But then a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her away below the Mason-Dixon line where she promptly lost all tolerance for snow and cold. They decided they’d make beautiful babies together and they got it right on the first try. Now Wren lives happily ever after in the real world and in the worlds of her making, where she creates book boyfriends for the masses to crave.
Q. Where are you from? I’m originally from Wisconsin, but have lived the last 15 years in Texas. Does the area you live in influence you writing? I’ve based a couple of characters from my home state, and doing one living in Texas right now. So I think there’s a sense of familiarity that sneaks in and helps build a believable character.
Q. Tell us your latest news?? I just signed a contract for my first full-length novel with Evernight Publishing!! So far I’ve only done novellas and a short story with them. But coming June 2015, my paranormal romance, VEXED will be available.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book? I was going through a rough period in my life. And I did a lot of reading, getting sucked into the make believe worlds so I didn’t have to face my own. When the books ended I had such bad book hangovers, I decided to start writing my own to stay in make believe worlds. It turned out to be so therapeutic for me. And things slowly got better in my life. My husband fully supported my dream to write from day one. I owe a lot to him.
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing? Karen Marie Moning, Diana Gabaldon, and Charlaine Harris (who is so incredibly sweet and dead panned funny. I had the opportunity to meet her at the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans last year. Bucket List dream come true!)
Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? I have quite a few. Mostly just from my over-active imagination LOL But the naughty fairytales I have published came as a result of me having to find a fairytale to retell. I wanted something a little different and not as well known. So I went with Snow White and Rose Red. Have they been in your head for a long time? These particular ones I wrote very fast. I think I wrote each novella in about four days.
Q. What motivates you to write? Music or art. I’ll see a picture on say Pinterest or Deviant Art and a whole story will just come to life. And if I’m listening to tunes while driving my daughter to school or on road trips, I play out stories in my mind to the music like a soundtrack.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing? Depends on the day. LOL Some days it’s editing. Some days it’s just finding the inspiration to start a new story and trying to leave your old characters behind. Some days it’s the rejection in the query trenches.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? Perseverance, as I chose for my Indy Author talk. Just keep at it. The only way you’ll fail is when you give up.
Q. Where do you get your ideas? Most of the time just looking at pics online of celebs or Pinterest, or again Music. A song will come on and depending on the lyrics something will spark.
Q. What does your family think of your writing? They’re very supportive. In May of 2014, My husband made me quit my day job and write full time. He believes in me.
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors? Surround yourself with other authors and writers. They will be what keeps you sane. Friends and family are great, but no one knows the hills and valleys like another writer. They will get you through. Perseverance.
Q. What book are you reading now? The Sexy and The Undead, by Charity Parkerson. SO GOOD!
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