A few years ago, I attended my first writer’s conference in Hawaii. I know, I went big for number one. I didn’t go expecting to get an agent, I was simply curious and wanted to start dipping my toes into the shallow end of the writing world. It was the first time that serious money had been invested into something that many (including family members) found to be nothing but a pipe dream. I was excited, but also worried that I was indeed wasting my time.
Three major events happened during and immediately after that conference: first, I met with the VP of Marketing for Penguin through a stroke of pure luck. He told me that I had some good ideas. Second, I met an agent during a workshop that was amazed with my pitch sentence and wanted a formal query. This led to a 30 page request and to event number three…my first rejection letter. I still have it on my mail server.
After that, I dropped it.
I didn’t submit anything else. I didn’t query anyone else. I didn’t attend any conferences. I looked at the door opening in front of me, freaked out, and ran in the opposite direction. Something happened last weekend, however, that made me stop running. My grandmother died.
My grandmother was one of the very few people who believed in my dream of being an author. Before dementia took its toll near the end, she teased me about not sending her any of my work. Her favorite piece of advice to me was “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” She made me promise that she would get the first copy of any book I publish. Most importantly, she always told me that she was proud of me and believed in me.
Life is not forever, fellow writers. Today will never come again. Each day is an opportunity to make a step, to move in the direction that you know you must go if you want to succeed. It will not be easy. You will lose people along the way. You will gain people along the way. You will stumble. You will get over a cliff. That’s all fine.
Just keep moving.
PS- I dedicate this post and this blog to my biggest cheerleader, Murl Henderson. Love you, G-Mommy!