Thursday, August 18, 2016
Dear Blank Page Readers--
So far, 2016 has been challenging year for many personal reasons. My family has had to go through quite a bit of change in recent months and the changes will continue for many more months to come. We're adjusting and things are looking a bit brighter than they did at the beginning of summer. This year has been a humbling reminder of how quickly life can change and how little control we have over most of it.
When everything started going sideways in late spring, I was thinking that getting my manuscript published was going to be the one bit of good news we needed to get us through. I'd worked so hard on the manuscript and loved it so much that I couldn't imagine that someone wouldn't want to publish it. I was wrong. My agent submitted the manuscript to publishers in April and so far, no one has expressed an interest. It's been four months. THE GREATEST MAN IN CEDAR HOLE sold in four days. As they say in finance, "past performance doesn't guarantee future results."
We're still waiting to hear back from a few editors, but publishing is a long shot at this point. Even though I try to stay optimistic on this blog, I'll admit that I was pretty devastated by the whole thing. It's been eleven years since CEDAR HOLE came out and I was looking forward to getting back into the business, to having a book on store shelves, to having a career again. I shed a lot of tears over this and truly questioned whether I had the energy to try writing another book. I even wondered if I could still call myself a writer.
In a way, it was a blessing that other events going on in my life overshadowed my failure to publish. It put things in perspective. It took me about a month to run through the stages of grief and then I started acting like a jilted lover. I cut my hair short for the first time in my life. I bought new eyeglasses. I reconnected with friends and socialized a lot. I ate an obscene amount of ice cream then started a new, healthier diet. I embarked on a challenging creative endeavor I'd never attempted before and discovered that I had a knack for it. I lost myself in fiction--though sometimes just looking at a book gave me a pang of failure. I'd think of how many things I'd been counting on that were no longer going to come to fruition.
Over time, I got a little tougher. Rather than waiting for each rejection to dribble in, I mentally moved on. For various reasons, I decided not to pursue small press or self-publishing. I put the manuscript in a drawer and will revisit it with fresh eyes a few years from now. Perhaps at some future date I will try again to get it published.
Then I started cleaning house literally and figuratively. A good friend of mine suggested this was a great time to take stock of what I was investing my time in and focus only on what was most important to me. Her suggestion was a real eye-opener.
After a lot of soul-searching, I discovered that all I really wanted to do is dive into my next novel. It's based on historical events and the subject absolutely fascinates me. It will probably take a year to do all the research and who-knows-how-long to write.
What I don't want is to write shorter pieces just to see my name in print. I don't want the pressure of being in a writer's group, especially since I'm only doing research right now. I don't want to spend so much time volunteering or pleasing everyone else that I don't have enough time to write. I don't want to waste precious time on social media or trying to promote myself when I don't have anything to promote.
Which brings me, Dear Reader, to this blog.
While it's been a pleasure to share my thoughts about writing and publishing, my well has run dry. Among the things I had been counting on with getting a publishing contact was sharing the entire process with you from start to finish. For now, the time I usually spend on this blog would be better spent on my next novel. At some point I will revisit this blog again, but for now I'm suspending it indefinitely. If you'd still like to know what I'm up to you can follow me on Facebook here. I'll still share occasional updates and articles that may be of interest to writers and readers alike.
Thank you for taking the time to visit this site and I hope our paths cross again.