Back in 2013, I couldn’t even think (really) of being a published author. Yes, I dreamed of it for years, but with the same sort of yearning that most young women hope to someday have a unicorn as a pet.
After Sam’s death, I made a commitment to becoming a published author. I had queried agents and publishers for years, but I finally got serious. I hired an editor. I hired someone to critique my query letters. Now, to be clear, I had great editors already. I had friends with degrees in English or literature, who edited my work. They did a great job, but they did it with love. To a certain degree, you need brutal people as editors. To be clear, I love my paid editors. They now are my dear friends, but they are just as brutal now as they were in the beginning. They were cutting and clear in their editing. They kicked my butt around the block. I cried. I swore. I threw manuscripts out in the trash. I shredded some. And they made me a better writer.
My first publishing contract made me cry with joy, excitement and grief. Sam had believed in me so deeply, it broke my heart anew that he wasn’t there dancing around with me in the living room. But, with the hindsight of the passing years, I know I would never have done the serious work of hiring editors if Sam had lived. It was losing him that drove me to do what I needed to do to fulfill his belief in me.
Obviously, years have passed. I now have published four novels and a memoir. As you know, I have chosen the traditional route for publishing because that was what I needed to do for my own heart and soul. I also write professionally as a paid ghostwriter and freelance writer. I have accomplished what Sam knew I could, and it makes me happy.
Yesterday, someone asked me about my writing plans now. I realized that the joy of achieving your goal means that you can set new goals. Yes, I want to continue to publish under my own name and my pen name, as well as continue to write for others. Now it is time to set a new writing goal for myself.
Hmm… What will that be?