Nine years ago tonight, I decided if I really wanted to be an author, I’d better sit down and write. I desperately, desperately wanted to write for other people.
Three and a half years ago, I convinced myself I was writing for no one. I’d written sixteen complete manuscripts. In spite of many people saying positive things about my writing and ideas, I’d been told “no” too many times. Hundreds of times.
Three years ago, I gathered all my stories and worked on something new. I decided I wouldn’t write for other people. The important thing was that I wrote to make myself happy.
What I didn’t understand then was that there were people cheering for me, hoping I would succeed. People who knew me only through query letters and my manuscripts and their encouraging rejection letters. There were people just waiting for me to write something they not only loved, but felt confident they could sell.
Manuscript number seventeen, the one I wrote for myself, was INCARNATE.
When I accepted Agent Lauren’s offer of representation, several congratulatory emails appeared from agents I didn’t realize knew me from any other writer who’d queried them fifty billion times. When INCARNATE sold, there were more.
Though those emails surprised me, I understood them. I’d spent about a year and a half reading slush for an agent, so I’d felt this from the other side, but hadn’t applied to myself: When I saw writers with potential, with determination, with skill that wasn’t quite there yet, it was awful telling them no. I wanted to encourage them and push them to keep working to build their skills so they would be ready one day. I remembered them. I cheered for them. I wanted them to succeed. (Several of them have.)
I want you to succeed too. Write your book. If this one doesn’t work out, write another, and then another.
Nine years ago I made a decision to be an author.
Three years ago I made a decision to write for myself.
Make a decision to chase your dreams. I know that making those dreams a reality is often filled with doubt and discouragement, but you can make another decision: never give up.