Looking back from where I stand now

When I turned 30, I took a long, hard look at where I was, and realized it wasn’t where I wanted to be. My whole life, I’d written. Whatever my age, growing up, I said I was going to be a writer. But at university, that started to change. I don’t know if it was any one thing, but I could see if I wanted to eat, buy a car, live anywhere but with my parents, I could not become a full-time writer. And my English literature major showed me very clearly I didn’t have even a quarter of the life experience I needed to say something interesting in my work. I didn’t feel ready.

So I went on to complete a Masters degree in languages, and started working as an editor and then later as a publisher. I was in the business of books, but not on the side I always thought I would be. But that was fine. I loved it. I’ll never regret it. And it helped me a great deal when I was ready to start writing seriously.

I don’t take rejection personally. How can I, when I myself have rejected writers, and know that when I did so, there was nothing personal in it? Sometimes, it was a purely financial decision, sometimes, it was just something we did not publish. I’m also good at editing my own work, and have a feel for how production in a publishing house works.

The time I spent working in IT I have never regretted, either. I use what I learned there every day. Not only the technical skills which have helped me with my websites, but the practice of running a small business, which is what you become when you are a writer.

After the epiphany at 30, that if I didn’t start writing, my dream would be just that, a dream, I started. And started again. And again. Slowly, writing became a habit. But it didn’t happen overnight. I had children, moved to the middle of nowhere. There were many things that slowed the process down, but also enriched it. Enriched me. Made my work more insightful, and better.

I also joined a writing organization. A critique group. I’m still with that group. Still with that writers’ organization. I know the road would have been harder, longer and far less satisfying without either.

And here we come to the release of my first book, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. Many years, many rejections, many lessons learned, and many friends made later. I can look at my book and say a huge thank you to my agent and my editor, whose enthusiasm and love of the story keeps me going when I have moments of self-doubt, to the production, sales and publicity staff at Simon & Schuster for their work in getting this book out into the world, to my critique partners and my other friends for their enormous support and friendship, my family for their support and pride in me, and now, a new string to my bow, the reviewers and readers who have read my work and have been happy to share with others how much they enjoyed it.

I thank you all. I made my dream a reality, and there is no way I did it alone.

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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26 Responses to Looking back from where I stand now

  1. Pingback: IN A TREACHEROUS COURT is released! - Michelle Diener » Michelle Diener

  2. Amy Atwell says:

    Congratulations on your debut release and achieving this milestone in your personal journey. As someone who has known you for years, I am thrilled to see this book come out. As someone who has been fortunate enough to gain from your IT and editorial wisdom, thank you for being so generous. Wishing you a long and luminous career!

  3. Berinn Rae says:

    Congratulations, Michelle! And thanks so much for sharing the personal & inspirational story.

  4. Joe Barone says:

    What good news! Congratulations.

  5. Cynthia Eden says:

    I am so happy for you, Michelle!! Congrats on your debut! And may there be many, many more wonderful releases in your future.
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …Would You Want to Know?

  6. Theresa says:

    Whoo-hoo!! *throwing confetti* *blowing noisemakers*

    Congratulations your your debut novel\’s release and may this book just be the first of many. Now sit back in and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of release week. 😯 :mrgreen:

    ps- is Ikea paying you guys to use that anti-spam word? lol

  7. Maria Geraci says:

    Michelle, what a heart felt post!

    Congratulations on your big day!

  8. Edie Ramer says:

    Michelle, I’m so thrilled for you. You’re a fantastic writer. I know you’re gaining fans as I type.

    This is overdue, but I’m certainly grateful that it led to our friendship. And for the IT skills you learned along the way. And so much of what you do has made you friends in the industry. In the end, it’s all wonderful.

  9. Misty Evans says:

    Yay, Michelle! Happy release day! Congratulations and here’s to many more fabulous books. 😀

  10. What a beautiful, thoughtful post, Michelle ;). I don’t think there’s anyone who’s had the privilege of knowing you that isn’t cheering for you this week and celebrating your fabulous accomplishment. Wishing you much success with In a Treacherous Court and looking forward to hearing about many other great milestones ahead!!
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Celebrating Joan Reeve’s Romeo and Judy Anne

    • Thank you, Marilyn. It feels good to share with people who understand everything that goes into this moment. I’m so happy to have had the privilege of getting to know you, too!

  11. Liz Kreger says:

    Huge congratulations on your release, Michelle. It’s been a long (and most often difficult) road but you certainly persevered. You richly deserve all the acolades you’re receiving. Sit back and wallow in it for awhile. 😎

    Love the book, love the second and will love the third when it comes out.

    • Thanks, Liz. Like Edie, you’ve really shared this journey with me, and I loved that you were able to share the signing and first book moment with me in NY. Smooch!

  12. Pingback: Unusual interview - Edie Ramer » Edie Ramer

  13. What a great post! I love hearing stories about how people never gave up. And it’s interesting to hear from the editor/agent side of things. I’ve said it before, but it must be said again, i love that cover! Congrats on your sale!

  14. Michelle, I’m so excited for you! I LOVE In A Treacherous Court!
    Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!`s last blog was …National Bestseller

  15. Pingback: Using Real People and Events in Fiction – Michelle Diener | Writers In The Storm Blog

  16. Carol Reiley says:

    🙂 Congratulations on your book.
    I keep a journal (for a number of years) called Magical Musings.
    Guess we have a connection!
    Blessings for great literary success and other lovely happenings.


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