Today marks an anniversary for me. Three years ago, I sat down at my computer and began writing a novel. I never planned to do any such thing. But as you can read here, thoughts and events came together. And the Muse conspired with some characters to allow them access to my brain and hands.
Until that point, I had never seriously considered writing one novel, let alone two that will have multiple sequels. This isn’t a dream I’ve carried with me since childhood, or even early adulthood. I didn’t start writing novels at 15 or 22 or even 30.
But somehow, writing a novel became a dream as I started the physical act of writing one. (That sounds rather circular or mystical. And yet it fits.) Three years ago, writing became fun. I do it all the time in the day job, but the reports have little room for creativity. They have specific formats and information requirements, and they are certainly not meant for entertainment. But novels? I can go wherever my characters want to lead me. Sure we argue at times about the best way to tell the stories, but it’s all good-natured. (And they usually win.)
Still, as I continued to write in 2009, the dream took shape. Soon, it wasn’t enough to write a novel (or two) for myself and a few close friends and family. I wanted the books to draw a wider audience. I wanted them to be published. I finished revisions to Summer at the Crossroads in early 2011 and queried a few agents. While I did, I worked on finishing a draft of Death Out of Time.
Rejection hurts. We all know that. But what amazed me more than anything was the fact that the dream didn’t die. I kept writing. I didn’t know I had it in me. Somehow, in all these years, I never knew this part of me. I’ve kept it going as I completed a second draft of Death Out of Time and sent it out recently for a beta read.
There’s a lot of work ahead before that book is finished. But when it is, I’ll start the query process again. Will I have better luck the second time? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that if I can’t attract an agent’s attention, I’ll e-publish the books. I owe it to my characters to make their stories public—when I’ve done them justice.
But until then, the dream needs nurturing. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into being lucky enough to get published and find a reading public for a book. I study writer, agent, and editor advice for writing a good story and querying novels. I learn about e-publishing and what’s needed to become successful if I go that route. I read books and see things that work (and don’t). I evaluate my own writing to see if I make the same mistakes I find elsewhere (I do). That learning process never ends.
And I blog. I recently topped the 100 mark on followers, and my site views just passed 5,000. Some established and popular bloggers might laugh at those numbers; that could be their numbers for a day. But for me, that’s darn good for five months of blogging about me. Most importantly, I’ve found an incredibly supportive network of fellow writers and other wonderful people, and we all encourage each other to keep going. To keep following our dreams, no matter what they are. And I’m thankful to each and every one of you who has taken time to stop by and read some of my posts.
So where will the dream be in another three years? Completed by the publication of the first two novels? No, I don’t think that would be the end of the dream. I think it will continue to grow and develop, as long as I keep tending it. Now that it’s been planted, I want to see how it unfolds.
How about you? Has a dream surprised you by taking hold of your thoughts? Have you kept at it through the hard times? Did it continue to grow as you reached the original goal?
Good Mystery Recommendations?
On another note, my husband is looking for a good mystery series to dive into. He’s enjoyed writers like Henning Mankell, Stieg Larssen, and Kate Atkinson. Does anyone have any suggestions for him? Thanks for your help!