I gave up writing.
Several years ago, after taking a novel writing class and joining a local writers group and attending a few RWA conventions and receiving a few rejection letters on full manuscripts, I gave up writing. It wasn't the rejection letters that did it. My quitting was a result of a combination of impatience at the slow process and frustration at not knowing how to go from pretty good to published.
When I say I gave up writing, I don't mean that I stopped writing. If you're a writer, you know the impossibility of that concept. I just gave up the idea of ever publishing a novel. I wrote articles for a local newspaper and an online business magazine.
Okay, so I also secretly continued creating novel-type manuscripts, but pretended I wasn't actually writing them with the intent to publish.
A few years ago, I tiptoed back into the fray.
What a difference a few years makes!
Writing stuff is everywhere!
My prior experiences had left me believing that there were few spaces open for pre-published writers to become published authors. Even when I felt close, I still felt too far away with no sense of direction or road map.
While I was away, the internet happened. I mean really happened. As a mother and teacher of teens, I'm not always a fan of social media, but as a writer...Holy Wordsmiths! Pre-published writers, post-published authors, agents, editors, interns, and writing coaches are suddenly accessible. You know what else? They aren't all superstars with secret handshakes and code words to a club I'll never belong to. They are kind and encouraging and empathetic and brilliant and generous. Not only is writing stuff everywhere, so is writer love.
I witnessed this with Brenda Drake and her service to the writing industry. (Check out her website here.) I jumped into her #PitMad event and got a full request. In preparing for her Pitch Wars, I've connected with dozens of beautiful writer souls. Even if I'm not matched with a mentor, I'm already winning. I've also convinced a couple of writer friends to jump in, too. So much love!
Pursuing publication is definitely sweeter the second time around--with one exception. When I see all the pre-published who became post-published during my sabbatical, I want to rewind life and never give up the first time.
I'm a lover, not a fighter, but I'm reading to go to battle for #PitchWars!
The manuscript I'm submitting is a contemporary romance. You might have noticed #amwritingYA on my Twitter feed, @Roaringmoms. It's not a lie. I am currently working on a YA, but it's not submission ready. I'm excited to get to a work with a mentor who can help me get my contemporary romance published. I have some amazing critique partners. One is a USA Today best selling author. I learn a lot from them; however, I need some new eyes on this story.
Five reasons why you want to mentor me:
5. Now is the time. I believe that timing is everything. Well, timing is important, anyway. I've recently returned to focusing on my passion--writing. Now that my four kids are grown and going for their dreams, it's mama's turn. Plus, I promised myself I'd be published by a certain age. It's looming. Now is the time.
4. Ashley and Eric need you. My main characters are screaming at me to get them published. They suffered and celebrated with me through edits and rewrites and tweaks and polishes and several full requests. They deserve to be taken to the next level, and I need you to guide us.
3. Proven Work Ethic. At one point in my life, I had four children under the age of seven. They turned into three teens and a preteen. I thought the fact that I chose natural childbirth each time would prepare for me for the eventual parenting three teens and a preteen. The wine helped. (So did writing my parenting blog www.roaringmoms.blogspot.com for family and friends. Check it out, too.) Then there's the time I earned a Master's Degree in English while chasing a three-year-old, while enduring pregnancy, and jumping through state government hoops to obtain licensing for my now ex-husband's adoption agency. Afterwards, I opened the international division--out of the goodness of my heart. As a single mom, I've worked 14 hour days at jobs I hated, but I had three teens and a preteen and a house payment. In fact, I don't know what it is to not work hard. I'm excited to work hard to realize my dream. (Did I mention now is the time?)
2. Must Write Faster. The nagging voices of several plotted-out stories grow louder everyday. Although I'm always working to improve my craft, I know that working with a mentor will expedite the progress. I would be honored to have you share your wisdom, your tips, your critique, your experience. I'm hoping to find someone who can help me get more right the first time through, so the rewrites and edits go faster.
1. Cat Lady Life Risk. The other day after a grocery run where I purchased kitty litter, two boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes, and a romance novel, I stopped by the wine store. I picked up a bottle of my latest favorite, 19 Crimes, and waited to pay. I noticed the hot, male cashier kept staring at my boobs. I wore jeans and a plain black tank. I wasn't trying to be sexy, but hey. Anyway, I flirty-grinned and might have even batted an eyelash or two. I paid and went back to my car where, of course, I adjusted my rear view mirror, so I could see what he saw. I didn't remember putting on my good bra that morning, but I also didn't remember what I had for breakfast. So, yes, I checked out my own rack. He'd been looking at it, alright. Because it was covered with cat hair from the hug I gave Fred "Binx" Weasley before the grocery run. I believe with my whole cat-hair-covered heart that the life of an accidental Cat Lady is exponentially improved with the publishing of her books. Help me, please.
Dee Linn loves words. When she was in the third grade, her exasperated teacher told her she'd probably talk to a pole, if she happen to be sitting beside it. Not much has changed except that now she says it in writing. She is a single mom of four, a teacher of teens, a cheater at board games, and a lover of life. She's a Kansas girl, but travels to all kinds of places in her head with characters living there, some of which she's sure she's created. Some, she's not sure how they got there. But they are way more interesting to talk to than a pole.