Saturday, July 12, 2008

Overcoming obstacles

My "career" as a writer started when I was about five years old. I spent hours writing stories on my thrift store typewriter for my parents, and they read each one faithfully. They must have been relieved when I started entering writing contests in high school, just so they wouldn't have to keep gushing about my writing. As an adult, even though I am finally a published author (or at least I will be when the e-version of my book Out of Her League comes out August 29th), my family tends to go into a coma if I bring up my writing too often.

Sure, they were excited for me when I signed my contract, and sure, they're supportive of my career goals, but they can only take so much. Hence, my journey into cyberspace and the world of self-promotion.

Promotion is not something I'm entirely comfortable with, but like all challenges I've faced in life, I intend to meet it head on. That's just how I am. Overcoming this obstacle is just getting over one more of life's hurdles, and I'm sure to learn something along the way. Like my writing, for example. I've learned a lot about that, too. I was so proud of my first book, and after speaking to a successful author at a local writer's conference, I took his advice and went hunting for a freelance editor to take me on. He told me if I was serious about doing this for a living, then I'd better make sure I wrote like a professional.

Sure, I thought. That makes sense. I'd already written a book, hadn't I? I thought that was the hard part, until my editor sent back my MS and it was hemorrhaging red. I happened to be on bed rest at the time with my second child, and to this day I'm not sure how I didn't lose the baby when I saw that first edit. I'm sure my blood pressure quadrupled.

What did I do? After I had a quiet freak out (didn't want to alarm the baby), I had nothing else to do, since I couldn't even sit up, so I took my medicine and hacked my way through it one page at a time. Believe me, it was painful, slow work. As I worked through my shock and humiliation, though, I began to realize that my editor really did have good points about the plot, pacing and my technical writing ability. Or lack thereof. I learned a ton, the most important of which being I wasn't really that great a writer. Yet. But then and there, I made up my mind to improve with each day. Maybe, just maybe, I would someday be good enough to find my books on the shelf of a local bookstore.

Being as I had another six weeks in bed all by myself, I re-wrote that first novel twice more, and after that, I found a publisher that loved it. I'm now working on my fourth book, and I think it's safe to say I'm a heck of a lot better at writing than I used to be.

Those are my thoughts for now. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! To everyone working on a rewrite: I feel your pain. Stick with it! You just might get it published.
Kaylea Cross