Welcome to another round for my Blog Chain. This time, Laura brings us a question:
Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?
Wow. I have to say, I love this question. And I struggled with it greatly – which is why this post DID NOT get up until now. It isn’t that I don’t make mistakes – I make tons of them. But which is the best one?
If you had asked me this a few months ago, I am sure I would have said something about the need for crit partners (CPs), or something about querying too early.
But that was before.
Before I almost stopped writing fiction. Like really stopped.
The feelings started a few months ago. I’d finished up a tough revision on the novel I’m currently querying and sent it back out. Then I went back to work on another project. But somehow, I had lost my MCs voice. I couldn’t find her…couldn’t make the words on the page the way I needed them to be.
I talked with my closest buds. Decided that I had just lost focus. EMOTIONAL INTENSITY was nearing its launch date and I was very busy with that.
So, I decided to take a break for a few weeks.
Weeks turned into a month.
The month stretched into 6 weeks.
My book launched. It was a HUGE success – so much bigger than my publisher, my agent or I expected from my tiny little niche book.
I should have been happy – ecstatic even.
Instead, all I could think about was my lack of muse and the problems I seemed to be having in fiction-land.
I tried opening the file for a current project. But I was completely unable to write anything.
A few rejections came in on the novel I was querying.
Fear took over.
And I considered quitting fiction. Really quitting.
I chatted with my closest writerly buds. Cried with them. Turned to my faith, trying to figure out if it would be a mistake to quit. At least for a while. Just focus on NF.
I stewed, prayed, meditated and stewed some more. In the end, I had decided quitting was a viable option.
But I decided NOT to make a hasty decision. So I’d give it a few weeks.
And then, this morning, I read a beautiful story about someone’s road to publication – one which took more than 10 years and a very unusual path.
I had heard similar stories, but this one not only resonated with me…it came at the EXACT right time. It filled me with hope. Reminded me that it is perfectly okay if my journey in fiction is not as smooth as it has been in nonfiction – that my rocky road did not mean I shouldn’t write fiction.
It was all okay.
I have no idea what the future holds for me and fiction writing. But I do know that I love it. And I know I am not really ready to stop. Not really.
And I also know that the “mistake” of walking away (because yes, I had pretty much decided I was quitting last night) was the best thing that could have happened…
Ultimately, that act made me see all the reasons why I can’t.
What has your biggest mistake been?