Who Has a Secret?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have you been keeping secrets? I have! No, my being a writer isn’t a secret. If asked what I do for a living, my family and friends would probably shrug their shoulders and say, “She writes magazine articles and stuff.” It’s true. I do write a lot of “stuff”. Those hung up on labels might call it copywriting: marketing materials, advertorials, blogs for nonprofits, annual reports, book reviews. I even wrote a game show for a local nonprofit to use at a charity golf outing. But “stuff” seems to cover it much better for my non-writing friends.

The secret is my novel. Very few people in my non-writing circle knew about it and, if they did, it was in an abstract way. It was as if I told them, “I’m remodeling my kitchen” but, since they never visited my house, they were never sure if it was in the planning stages, I had the cabinets ripped out, or if I was doing the finish painting.

Well, I have finished the novel. I have edited. I have shown it to people. I have written a book proposal. I have lists of agents. What I haven’t done is actually send it out. I have been stuck in the “I just need to look over it one more time before I send it out” stage.

Then I unexpectedly met up with an old friend from my hometown that I have known since Kindergarten. Our conversation turned to kids, parents, the holidays, vacations to Disney World. “But what have YOU been doing?” he asked. Since my old friend is a teacher/artist I found myself blurting it out, “I wrote a novel.”

He quickly demanded all the details which I happily supplied. “Of course I’ve been so nervous I haven’t sent it out…but I am on Monday.”


Who said that?

I could just ignore that last declaration and keep going over it “one last time”. But I know I’ll see him again. I write about the local art scene, he is a member of the local art scene. Our paths cross. And he’s one of those people who remembers. And asks questions! Oh no.

So I sent it. And got sent a “we no longer accept unsolicited queries”. So I sent it out again. And it seems I’ve begun.

So my new year’s advice to everyone with secret writing goals that never seem to get anywhere?

Tell someone. Tell lots of someones. And not the polite ones that just nod and tactfully never mention it again. Tell those nosy, pushy people who will bring it up every time they see you, tell everyone in the neighborhood, email you helpful articles they find on writing. Those are the people you need in your corner for 2011. The ones that will embarrass you into completing your WIP and getting it out there.


Unknown said...

Best with your novel submission, Jodi!
I always remember that some of the most famous authors were turned down several times before getting accepted--James Michener, for one. Also A Wrinkle in Time took a long time to get accepted.
Good luck!


Debra said...

Don't give up, Jodi! It took me a while to find an agent, but it was well worth the wait.

Debra Ann Pawlak
Author forthcoming “Bringing Up Oscar” from Pegasus Books

Carmen@Life Lines said...

Congratulations on your novel!
Stephen King once said that if you receive 50 rejections, keep submitting; 100 rejections, keep submitting; 600 rejections, keep submitting....if you receive 1000 rejections, you might want to reconsider.
If you are a novelist, start work on your next novel while you are submitting (that's the advice I keep reading, anyway). I am in the rewriting stage of my first novel.

Best wishes

Betty Craker Henderson said...

Congratulations on finishing and SENDING IT OUT. Now get to work on another one and as soon as the first one comes back SEND IT OUT AGAIN. Because it will come back again and again and again. But eventually something will give and if this one bites the dust the next one may be the one that will sell. I KNOW OF WHICH I SPEAK. My best wishes to you and Merry Christmas.

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