Okay, I know what you’re all thinking – what do those two things have to do with each other?
In my case, it sums up my year 2011. I tend to need to analyze my past before I can move forward into the future – always around the New Year. Sometimes that process takes a long time, this year it took no time at all.
I started 2011 as a finalist in the Brava Kensington /RT Times contest and made it into the Final Four. I didn’t win. Now I’m quite happy I didn’t. Why? After much soul searching, and waiting on one last agent, who took months to get back to me, I chose a different path than the one I’d followed for ten years.
I haven’t given up on traditional publishing, but I was no longer willing to sit around and wait. I chose self-publishing. And promptly did – what seemed to be – everything wrong. I know that it wasn’t ‘really’ wrong, but over this year of very slow growth compared to many people, it seemed wrong. However, it was my way and I have to own that path.
I ended up starting with nonfiction, then adult fiction and then YA. I have yet to get back to my nonfiction and I have plenty I’d like to do in that field. My year can be described as a slow growing year. That might be a good thing. I’ve seen writers get hit by lightning, then fall and don’t know what to do to recover. I’ve had highs and lows, but neither were difficult to recover because the dips and peaks weren’t that far apart. It’s been a step-by-step process.
Another slow step-by step process is one I hadn’t realized was in progress until recently because its an inner change. That’s the evolution part. I started this year feeling like a writer. Someone who worked hard writing, and selling nonfiction and some fiction. By mid-year I’d started to feel like an author. I had books out, was getting fan mail in, had promo occupying my time, and was constantly writing and revising yet more books. However, I’m ending the year in a new mindset.
I feel like a story teller.
Now that may not seem like a step forward to many of you, but for me it is.
I’ve come to understand my strengths a lot more and to accept my weaknesses. I write dynamite stories with great characters, fast paced plots and my books move! But I can’t revise worth a damn. I’m one of those writers that need proofreaders/editors/cps. Some writers I know put out perfect copy the first time. Snort – that is so not me. I need other eyes to double check my dangling modifiers, flailing body parts, and did I mention I hate commas. So someone has to make sure those slippery suckers are where they belong (not in the ms as far as I’m concerned).
The term storyteller honors the creative part of my writing process.
The validation part of this blog is interesting because I started as a finalist for a big contest. But I felt like a fraud. Like someone hadn’t taken a close enough look at my manuscript before it was picked. I didn’t win the contest and at the time, I felt like I wasn’t good enough to win.
After six months of having that same novel published, my work has been validated many times. By readers’ responses on Facebook, by emails telling me how much they’ve loved my books, by comments on blogs I’ve visited.
I ended the year with several nominations under my belt. Tuesday’s Child was nominated Best PNR – Psychic Talent (2011) by TheRomanceReviews.com. I didn’t win, and that’s just fine. I was up against the big girls and finally realized that maybe I did belong. ENTANGLED, which has several of our Magical Musings authors, was Nominated for 2011 CAPPA award for anthologies category, and Tuesday’s Child and Hide’n Go Seek (Books 1 and 2) were just chosen as the Best Books of 2011 by one large review site.
A great way to end the year. Validation as a storyteller.
How has 2011 helped you to grow and change? Was there some incident that validated you in a special way? Have you grown or changed this year?