The Challenge of Becoming Published
I have been interviewing published novelists and we are benefiting from the lessons they have learned. Yet, there was a time, when they were on the outside looking in. They were unpublished writers with a dream. They worked and labored to reach the exhilarating moment when their precious baby is accepted by a publisher.
Katt Anderson tells us what it means to her to pursue her dream of being a published novelist. I appreciate her thoughts and insight. She is a friend and I wish her the best! I hope you enjoy her meditations.
My Writing Journey
by Katt Anderson
My writing journey has taken many turns and a few dead ends. Becoming rich and famous was never my goal. If I can bring just a little money in to help us in our retirement, that’s enough for me. Let me share with you what it’s like to write.
The bug first bit me while working at a newspaper. They allowed me to write a small weekly column with my family’s favorite recipes. I would have a little blurb about the recipe and then list the ingredients. I loved the little blurb I wrote. I was hooked.
Five years ago, my father passed away and my mother came to live with us. She had dementia and needed care 24/7. I don’t regret a minute of caring for her, but I had to have an escape. Writing came to my mind. When she was sleeping, or living in her own world of thoughts, I could write and go to a different time and place. I got on the internet and wrote authors and believe it or not, they wrote me back.
Several stories were in my head and I put them in the computer. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and became involved in a critique group. Through that group, I have made many friends.
Let me step back and say one thing about writing. It is lonely. It’s you and a computer most of the day. The computer does not talk back. I become very introverted when I’m writing and really don’t want to see or talk to anyone.
I have been involved with several critique groups. They are good when you find the right one. Sometimes it takes a while. After trying several, I decided it was best for me to write my book and then pay to have it edited.
Editors are another story. I had one editor to edit my book and she changed my voice. My voice is unique to me. When I realized what had happened, I fired her and found a wonderful woman, Sandi Rog. I recommend her highly.
To me, the best part of writing is meeting other writers and authors. Attending conferences has helped me so much. I’ve attended the ACFW conference, Blue Ridge Mountain Writer’s Conference, and October Novel Retreat. They are all good. I recommend either workshops or conferences to any writer. You meet authors and learn more about the craft of writing. You can read books, but having someone talk to you is better for me.
Setting a pace is important. I like to write 2,000 words a day and I usually take the week-end off. Everyone needs time to relax. If I take a day off during the week, I’ll write on Saturday. The afternoon is my best time to write. Take your temperature every thirty minutes and when your temperature elevates a little, that is your most creative time. Mine starts at noon.
So many authors have graced my life and encouraged me to write. When DiAnn Mills read my first chapter, she laid it down and said, “You have to write this book and get it published.” In my darkest moments, I hear her words and see her face when she said that to me.
Another encourager has been Janice Thompson. Janice saw that my contemporaries were not so good, but my historical were. She helped me change my mind to write in a genre that I felt comfortable with.
This spring, I have found two authors that live close to me. We try to get together once a month for lunch and talk. We mostly talk. Susan Page Davis and Sandra Robbins have grown close to me. We need someone to talk to, either a writer’s group or authors in person. We can bounce ideas around and learn more about what we are doing or not doing.
My best advice is to write, write, and write. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Learn all you can about writing. Read books on writing. Have fun when you write. Find someone you can talk to and hash out your story or ask advice.
One thing I did, and other writers do, is sending your proposal in too soon. Finish the book, have it edited, work hard on the proposal and then send it. You want it to shine when you send it to a publisher or agent.
I did not take this advice and I have the rejection letters to prove it. Don’t get in a hurry to get it finished before it is ready. Polish your book, make it shine and then send it to an agent or publisher.
I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly in writing. I’ve made wonderful friends and I’m ready to send my proposal to an agent. My second book is started. It’s in the same series, but it is different. I love my characters, all of them and they seem real to me. I’ve always had a good imagination, ask my children and they will tell you.
I grew up with a grandmother who was a storyteller. I am also a storyteller. I love history and I’ve found so many interesting facts in my research. To me, writing is fun.