A Story To Tell
by Pat Jeanne Davis
I knew my story would be an encouragement for other women struggling with infertility. This realization motivated me to enroll in a creative writing course. There I was introduced to the basic steps in the writing process. While learning the craft, my story was critiqued in class. The instructor encouraged me to continue polishing it for submission.
I became better informed about publishing my inspirational story through the Writer’s Market, “how to” publications, other writing groups on the Internet and from just the experience of submitting. I soon realized that writing for publication required a commitment of time, perseverance, organization and actually learning through working at it.
As the months went by I carefully studied writers’ guidelines to determine the needs of a particular magazine I was targeting. I realized the necessity of carefully following those instructions. I learned how to submit a brief but detailed query letter to interest an editor in my work. I tried not to take personally each rejection. On occasion an editor would write some encouraging words or helpful suggestions on their form letter. After each rejection—and there were many of those—I would rework, re-focus and then send the piece out to the next publication on my list.
My teacher suggested I apply for a scholarship to the conference where she was on the board of directors. At about the same time I submitted the story I worked on in her class to a national magazine for their Mother’s Day writing competition. I sent both the application for the scholarship and the story out in December, and I didn’t think anymore about them.
Five months later and just before Mother’s Day, I went for the first time to GRIT Magazine’s website. And to my surprise on the front cover jumping out at me was Mommy to You Both. There was no mention of the contest or any winners. Two weeks later a check for $150.00 and five copies arrived in my mailbox. This success gave me much needed encouragement and a desire to continue submitting more of my work.
At the end of May I received word that I was awarded an all paid scholarship to the writer’s conference in June. So with renewed enthusiasm and much excitement I attended my first conference. I knew my instructor would be there, too. As I was browsing through the free literature provided at this event, I saw a stack of GRIT Magazines. There on the table was the issue with my story. It was an exciting moment as I once more realized that I was not wasting my time trying to become a published writer. But more important I saw this as an indication that God was pleased with my efforts to encourage others with my words.
More of my work was accepted elsewhere. I began to used those clips when querying or submitting to other markets. Since then my essays, short stories and articles have been accepted by other publications. I completed an inspirational historical novel and recently acquired agency representation. Each success spurs me on to continue writing for publication.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!