The writing journey has been often described as a roller-coaster. Dizzying heights of seeing your name on a shelf through to the depths of rejection by an agent, publisher or through a reader’s negative review.
2017 has definitely been that for me.
As I look back on my writing year, I can see – and still feel – the heart-fluttering highs and stomach-punch lows of this journey to becoming a published novelist.
I’ve had the high of working with James L Rubart as a mentor, and chatting with someone whose stories are piled next to my bed. Then the low of rejection by a publishing house that was set to green light my novel, only to fall into financial trouble.
I’ve felt the high of having two manuscripts recognized in separate competitions – at ACFW and in Oregon for OCW. Then the low of finaling but the disappointment of not winning.
I’ve thrilled at the adrenalin-surging high of signing with the Steve Laube Agency, with Steve now representing me, and all that means in terms of endorsement of an Australian writer looking to publish in the USA. Then the low of realising the waiting game to get an agent is replaced by a waiting game to get a publisher when you land an agent. (That’s in no way anything against Steve – he’s regularly touted as a top CBA agent, but this industry moves at glacial speed. Every step of it, it would appear. Landing an agent just moves you into a different holding pattern).
I’ve loved the high of building a platform and reaching out to hundreds of new author friends – some rookie writers, some seasoned novelists – from all over the world. Then the low of trying to fly all the way to ACFW in Dallas in September to actually meet them face-to-face but having my funding grant application denied by the Arts Council.
And I’ve enjoyed the highs of celebrating with author friends who’ve signed a contract, launched a book or won awards. Which is followed by the low of commiserating with author friends who haven’t … yet.
Overall, 2017 has been fun. But rather than just leave the analogy there, the more I’ve thought about my roller-coaster of a year, I’ve been thinking about that one overlooked part of the ride, one that plays a very important part but and drives the whole thing. In fact, it drives the thrill itself.
If you’ve ever been on a roller-coaster, you would have heard it more than you saw it, but you would certainly have experienced its impact.
The chain that pulls the carriage to the top of the hill. The chain lift engages with the roller-coaster to lift it to hte top of the hill, building expectation of what is to come as it clack-clack-clacks its way up to the pinnacle.
My chain this year has been my faith – in God, and in His timing. That clack-clack-clack of a nudge, a quiet word or the right encouragement at the right time has been the constant that has powered my roller-coaster ride of 2017.
I trust your writing year has had its share of excitements – and I’ve enjoyed riding the highs with you. I know some of your low points – I’ve also (enjoyed isn’t the word) been privileged to ride through those with some of my fellow writers as well.
So two things to finish on: I hope you enjoy the highs, as they make the lows manageable as you look back on 2017 and prepare for 2018. And also, I would love to know about the chain that pulls you through the entire journey.