The below is a re-post at the urging of a follower and fellow writer as my Little Book That Could becomes reality.
2011, The Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts. Lunch with my favorite college professor.
“It’s so good to see you, Kathryn. Tell me, what you have been doing the last 20 years?”
“Well, I’m married, have two rambunctious sons and write for several local newspapers.”
“I have to say, and I mean this with the utmost respect for your life choices, I expected much more from you.”
I’m speechless. An unheard of phenomena.
“You showed great promise. Where is the book you so often spoke of writing? Have you abandoned that dream?”
So, that’s what it feels like to be hit by a bus, I always wondered; nothing like having your role model sum up your professional life as slightly more than adequate. And yet, it was the kick in the rump I needed.
Here’s how my book journey began.
I talked to people, not email, not text, talked! People, like me, who write for a living. Not just those who dabble, but people who file 1099’s under the category of creative, in other words, poor. Although contracted, I still garner most my income as a freelancer, thus my circle of contacts within the writing realm was decent. Here’s their suggestions.
Lesson One: From my weekly editor: “For the love of God – Blog! I am so sick of you trying to interject humor into the police blotter! Get it out in cyber space and cut down on my red line time! And by the way, I need you to cover the senior art fair, make it sound exciting.”
Lesson Two: From local children’s book author: “Join a writers group. Try and find one more suited for your professional experience. Trust me, there are a lot of them out there full of people pushing their books with absolutely no writing experience and a lot of them still live in their mother’s basement and collect action figures. Choose wisely.”
Lesson Three: From my college professor: “Go back to school; education is a tool only sharp when kept active.”
Lesson Four: From a fellow almost-author: “Be prepared to fail, and fail often. No way to sugar coat it. This is not a career for the weak. Do you drink? If not, start.”
Done. (In spades.)
Lesson Five: From a helpful, but rightfully harsh literary agent: “Get some Beta readers to rip this thing to shreds. I don’t have time for this much work. (An ugly and eye-opening first draft critique after a contest win.) Don’t ask your Mom, sister or anyone who even likes you, in fact, get people who hate you. Do you have people who hate you? Don’t worry, if you write, you will.”
Done. (And may I say, ouch!)
Lesson Six: From my son: “Keep at it Mom, somebody will buy it.” Pause. “Do we have any Oreos?”
Lesson Seven: From the mirror: “Dust off the dream and hit that bucket list running! And buy Oreos.”