No sugarcoating. I’m going to be completely honest with you. Writing is a puzzle. Editing is difficult. And the publishing process is like waiting to speak with your mom while she’s talking to her best friend—it won’t happen, at least, not for a while.
I am currently in the editing process for my latest book. In twenty days, I’ll be flying to New York City for a writer’s conference. What does that mean? Well, I have to prepare a pitch, one-sheet, proposal, and finish my initial edits. That said, I’m busy. Very busy. And when I get stumped, I don’t have a ton of people offering advice. My mom, although brilliant, does not understand the current publishing industry. My mentor is a teacher and lives an hour away. My author best friend is busy being an author. I email them at least once a day—it’s no wonder they’ve stopped replying—but even with their council, I am on my own. To make my own decisions. To learn and prepare.
Writing is one of the loneliest jobs available to an eighteen-year-old girl.
At this exact moment, I’m listening to We’re On Our Way by Radical Face and trying to formulate coherent thoughts. It’s midnight. I should be in bed, but the caffeine from my English breakfast tea is keeping me alert and buzzing with ideas.
Last weekend, I attended freshman orientation at my college and registered for classes. While there, I met an English major named Gabriela. She is an aspiring novelist, like many of you, I’m guessing. I found her writing beneath a tree—anyone who picks writing instead of mingling is definitely my kind of person. In her, I saw a younger version of myself, an imaginative, determined girl with a passion for stories. She is an example of potential and eagerness. She is me. She is you.
In honor of Gabriela, I’d like to share three random tidbits of wisdom.
1. Find a way.
I learned at an early age that success wasn’t going to be handed to me on a platter. People weren’t planning to give me their time because I was Caroline George, little girl with big dreams, who asked for it. If I wanted something, I would have to work for it. Relentless. Perseverant. If someone told me NO, I’d find a YES.
The publishing industry isn’t going to hand you an agent and contract on a platter. You have to work hard. Relentless. Perseverant. And if someone tells you NO, find a YES.
2. Don’t let other people hurt your confidence.
Everyone experiences days when they feel inferior and unsuccessful. I often have these days.
Get up. Look in the mirror. Cringe.
Check email. No messages. Cringe.
Scan sales report. No sales. Cringe.
It’s easy to allow situations to injure your confidence, but in my opinion, people are the worst confidence-wreckers. One cruel remark will tear down any and all your self-esteem. And to be honest, there isn’t a foolproof way to prevent confidence-wrecking attacks. I can, however, advise you to keep your priorities in check. Believe in your purpose. Trust in the talent God gave you. Stay focused.
3. Love what you do. Fight for what you love. And love the fight.
Thanks for reading my midnight ramble!
And to all the aspiring authors like Gabriela,
Don’t give up, kid. You’ll make it.