Writing is slow. Publishing is even slower. So it's easy to feel like the days drag on with nothing really happening, while that elusive dream of being a writer seems continually far off on the horizon.
But have you ever looked back and seen how far you've come?
For instance, one year and four days ago I was a girl with an idea I was too scared to write. I'd been researching for over a year, I'd written a few scattered scenes (all of which SUCKED, by the way) and I was completely terrified to even call it a 'draft.'
But then I went to an event called Project Book Babe on April 4th in Arizona and met real writers for the first time. There were ten authors there--all of them amazing--and they were all at different points in their careers.
(Clockwise from top left: Brandon Mull, Chris Gall, P.J. Haarisma, Stephenie Meyer, James A. Owen, Janette Rallison, J.S. Lewis, Dean Lorey, Laini Taylor, and Shannon Hale)
But they had one thing in common. They were all writers--fearlessly churning out words and turning them into books that I could actually buy in stores and read and love. I knew I wanted to be one of them...but I don't think I really knew how much I wanted to be them until that day.
So I left that event with more than just signed books in hand. I left there ready to be a writer. No more staring at a blank screen afraid to put down words. No more waiting until the scene was perfect to put it in the draft. I used the advice they'd given me and I dove in and wrote MY FIRST DRAFT.
And...ten months (and 14 drafts) later, I was finally ready to query--albeit slightly unwillingly. Two weeks into querying I had an offer of representation from my dream agent, and here I am now--in revision Hell yet again--but making Draft 15 sooooo much better--maybe even good enough to sell (though knowing me, I'll need at least one more revision. *sighs*).
If you'd told me back then, "Psst, Shannon. Get crackin' on that draft so you can sign with Laura Rennert next year" I'm sure I would've laughed and called you crazy. But here I am. And I'm not saying that to pat myself on the back because, dude--no one is more stunned than I am that I've made it here. Plus, I still have a LONG way to go (*decides not to think about the nightmare of subs.*)
I just wanted to share my story because I know so many of you are struggling along the same path and I know how it feels. I know it feels endless. I know it feels like you're not getting anywhere.
So do me a favor.
See how far you've come--because I guarantee you, you've gone further than you think. And if you stick with it I have no doubt you'll get where you want to be. Day by Day. Word by Word. You're getting there. So keep at it and don't give up!
And, on that note, I really must get back to tackling the Editorial Email of Doom. Talk about a long way to go...
*rolls up sleeves*
*dives into revision*