A blueprint works? The bad news: I can’t give you a blueprint. The good news: I can share my experience.
Overcome Rejection – I’m not wanted
My first rejection came in 1978. I had submitted a nonfiction book to Baker Book House. I knew it would be a success – until the nice letter came telling me otherwise. Instead of hearing, “We can’t use this at this time,” I heard, “You’re no writer.”
So, did I continue writing tirelessly for the next 33 years? No, I didn’t. I gave up.
Numerous diversions came knocking at my door, and I entertained them all, always thinking in the back of my mind, “Maybe, someday, I will write, but first, I must do what’s at hand.”
It wasn’t until 2003, after a major surgery provoked me to give in to that writing nerve, that I realized time was the enemy. I joined Christian Writers Guild and enrolled in the What’s Your Story course. After finishing the course, written by Les Stobbe, I decided writing romance sounded much more exciting than writing nonfiction, so I changed directions.
Dispose of discouragement
My first historical romance was rejected. I tossed it. My next novel was rejected. I saved it. (making progress here). Other manuscripts were rejected, but I continued to read other authors and to educate myself.
Rejoicing with others does you good
Remember that jingle, Milk it does the body good? It’s amazing what confidence can fill your soul when you truly cheer-on fellow writers who have made it through the maze to publication – even when you haven’t.
Network at Conferences
My first conference – CWG at Colorado Springs – awakened me to the honed skills necessary to take a writer’s journey. Next conference – Blue Ridge. I was about to join a lunch table hosted by agent, Les Stobbe, when I heard him say to the nearly all male table, “I don’t represent romance.” I found another table. The nudge into my career came when I attended a session later that day, taught by DiAnn Mills. She clued us all in on ACFW, a national group of Christian fiction writers. I went home and joined.
The following year, I attended the Minneapolis ACFW conference and was blown away to meet innumerable kindred spirits. While there, I acquired that sweet agent who thought he didn’t represent Christian romance. (smile)
In God’s plan and timing and with Les’s guidance, I found my success. At the Indiana ACFW conference, I was awarded a contract for my debut novel, Tropical Island Vows, scheduled for an August 2011 release through Heartsong Presents.
Don’t Lose Heart
You are almost to publication. Don’t give up writing. Stay at it. Proverbs 13:12 hits home with writers. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but I love the second part of that verse, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
No matter what your blueprint for writing, may this be the year your longing is fulfilled in finding that long-awaited contract.
Donna Rich writes contemporary and historical romance and is a member of ACFW and CWG. Her successful genealogy research led to her membership in the Mayflower Society. Donna and her husband live in Indiana and adore their blended family of six married children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Web site: http://www.donnalrich.com.