Exactly a year ago I finished my first draft of my first novel.  Then came the fastest education of my life as I learned about the publishing business.  Queries, partials, fulls – everything was so new to me.  I quickly learned that writing and publishing were two completely different, yet grossly intertwined industries.  One – an art form, one a business.  Both a necessary part of my new found passion.

And so began a journey I never expected.

Over the last year I have put that same story through three major rewrites and countless additional revisions as I learned the art of creating a multi-layered story.  I have written several versions of queries and synopses – all with the goal of getting published.  And although I am no closer to that goal, the education I have received has been priceless – and one I want to share:

Things I learned about writing:

  • Writing a novel is so much more than having a fantastic and/or unique story to tell – it involves layers of emotion, social commentary and literary technique that is more intricate than I realized (and something I really LOVE to do).
  • Writing short stories and flash fiction is a great way to develop stronger writing skills – and something  never thought I could do.  As it turns out, I really enjoy these writing exercises.
  • I am very comfortable writing nonfiction in my professional field.  Fiction takes me longer and is a very different process.  
  • I NEED critique partners…like really NEED them.  They show me all of the flaws in the writing and help improve my skills in ways I never thought possible.  I liken my experience with my critique groups to therapy – once I am shown another way of looking at things in my writing, I am permanently changed.
  • Writing is something I have to work at.  The initial ideas and rough draft are easy for me – but the polishing is something I really work hard to do. 


The business of getting published:

  • This requires as much work as writing does.
  • I don’t mind the whole “building a platform” thing – it isn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
  • Blogging, social networking and author websites are words I now understand…shocking, I know.
  • Querying is hard.  Period.  It is just hard.
  • Rejection is HUGE in this business.  And it is a great opportunity to grow and develop amazing confidence if you let it be that.


What I have accomplished:

  • As I said, I wrote one novel.  And a have rewritten it numerous times.
  • I wrote another novel…a sequel.
  • I wrote a nonfiction book proposal and am partially finished with that book. 
  • I have ideas for three more nonfiction projects – all in the same area of study.
  • I am writing another novel – not related to the ones I have written.
  • I have written five different short stories, one of which is currently entered into a contest.


The other stuff:

  • I have met some of the most amazing people online – people that I will be friends with regardless of my future in this business.  I am so thankful for them.  They have made this journey worth it so far.
  • I’m stronger than I thought I was.
  • This really is a passion – a vocation of mine.
  • I’m not ready to end this journey anytime soon.

And so, a year into this little adventure, I continue – perfecting my writing skills, honing in on the publishing game and moving forward, hopeful that one day my books will adorn a bookshelf.

What about you?  What keeps you going?  How long have you been writing and why do you continue doing it?


8 thoughts on “Mindful Memories

  1. You’re on your way. You’ve got a great attitude, and I’m sure we’ll be buying your books soon. It took me 15 plus years and 9 completed manuscripts before I even found an agent. She’s doing a wonderful job of taking all the rejections for me now 🙂 Seriously, she’s doing a great job, and has taken me farther than I ever could have gotten on my own.

    Best of luck!

    R.W. Ridley

  2. I agree with R.W.–your commitment is fantastic, and it’s only a matter of time before we see your name on the shelves :).

    I started writing my novel about 2 1/2-3 years ago, procrastinated for several months here and there, and am finally doing my final final final revisions before querying. My beta readers are complete life savers! I’ve learned so much just from editing this first novel, that I feel like it’s already my third book. The learning process has been invaluable!

    I’ve also started on my second novel, so I’ll be working on that while I query the first.

    I think what keeps me going is that I have a goal. I love this, and I want it to eventually pay the bills so I can do it as much as possible. I’m a very driven person, and once I know what I want to do, I don’t stop. I think you have to be that way to face all the rejection and keep going ;).

    I feel like I’m always striving to improve, and always learning more. Especially from awesome blogs like these.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. You are amazing, Christine! I remember when you started blogging, like seven or eight months ago. It’s awesome how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come in only a year! Keep it up!

  4. Elana – you have a great memory…it was seven months ago. Thank you for all you have taught me.

    Kat – I LOVE that attitude. I’m tatooing it to my brain.

    Rebecca – I so understand your journey…it reads very familiar!

    and RW – thanks for commenting. People like you really keep me going – and I appreciate it more than you could possibly know.

  5. It’s so inspiring to read success stories like this! You’ve come such a long way, Christine. I remember reading once that there’s this weird phenomenon where many famous authors becamse friends before they were ever published and the theory is that talented, dedicated people attract other talented, dedicated people.

    So…here’s hoping that we’ll all be meeting up at BEA in a couple of years to do signings and panel discussions! I can see it now…

  6. Lisa – thank you..your comments really touched me. And like you, I so hope that we all get to spend a little time together at BEA in between signings and such.

  7. I’ve been writing seriously for…er…five-ish years. And I’ve written more novels than some already published writers have. But I get better every time, and can’t wait for that breakout moment!

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