Validation & Evolution

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?

About Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer writes romantic suspense, with or without paranormal elements like TUESDAY'S CHILD (2011) and now young adult books in various genres like DANGEROUS DESIGNS (2011). Writing stabilizes her in a life gone wild! The other stabilizers? Cheesecake and her four cats! Of course, she's dreaming to think she'll get a piece cheesecake once her four kids find out she's been baking!
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18 Responses to Validation & Evolution

  1. Dale, I’m so happy there have been so many wonderful milestones for you this year.

    This year my debut came out, and it has been a learning curve for me, all the way. But it’s the great reviews, really touching fan mail and feedback that have made it for me. I saw someone picked my book to be in their top five books of 2011. That is such a thrill! I think at heart the storyteller in us, the reason we sit down and write, is for the connection to the listener / reader. And when we get it, all is right in our world.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Talking about the call to adventure in KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Michelle,
      Isn’t it special when you see and hear however someone loved your book? We put our heart and soul into our work and there’s no guarantee that anyone will enjoy it. I write for myself and for my readers (starting with my own kids) and it’s a never ending source of joy to know the readers are enjoying my work.

      You’ve had such a terrific year, and I know 2012 for you will be dynamite!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  2. I am so proud of all you’ve accomplished this year. Your writing is wonderful and you earned each and every accolade you’ve gotten.

    For me 2011 was the year I sold my first book (Samhain – Texas Two Step). 2012 will be the year of my first release.

    I must steal the cat and mouse picture. I have NEVER seen a picture that so perfectly describes my feelings about the thoughts in my head and the writing process! :grin:

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Cyndi,

      I love that you’re book is coming out next year – such major turning points for you and I’ll be first in line!

      Thanks for the compliments, I feel the same way about you. Love the pic! I couldn’t stop laughing at it. Many layers of meaning on this one.

      Here’s hoping 2012 brings you many more sales!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  3. Amy Atwell says:

    Dale, you have worked so hard–harder than most people I know–so watching your career grow has been a joy. Just as writing is a process, our career journeys are a process. I count myself lucky to have learned a lot along the way. Even luckier for me, I’ve made wonderful friends and connections in this industry.

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Amy,

      Look at the twists and turns both our careers have taken this year! It’s been a tough year, a crazy year, and in many ways a wonderful year. When I look back to where I was at the start of the year versus where I’m finishing this year – WOW!
      And you’re right, it’s the friends we’ve connected with along the way that have made it so special!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  4. Misty Evans says:

    Congratulations, Dale. I’m so proud of you and proud to call you a friend. Not only have you taught yourself a lot this year, you’ve reached out and helped many of us on your journey. Here’s to an even more successful 2012!

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Misty!

      It’s been great getting to know you this year. I’ve always figured the best way to get along in life was to give a helping hand to those in need. Then when I’m in need, there will be someone to help me – very often this year, that person has been you!

      Thank you! I look forward to both our journeys in 2012!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  5. Dale, congratulations on an amazing, evolutionary year for you (I *love* all the images you chose, btw!!) — you were dedicated and persistent and it’s really showed. Wishing you a fabulous 2012 with even more good things ahead!
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …A Tale of Two Veronas

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Thanks Marilyn!

      Are those pictures kinda perfect :P I was raised that if a job was worth doing…
      but my father didn’t include how to do the job right with no money and I gotta tell you, it’s taken the full year to get to the point where I’m making a wage, but thank heavens that hard work and persistence has paid off!

      Here’s to 2012 bringing both of us a wonderful and exciting things!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  6. Edie Ramer says:

    Dale, I knew you would do well, right from the start. And I know I recently told you in an email that you were a storyteller. lol In the end, we’re like the caveman in the cave, telling stories to the other cave dwellers. We’re also the cave dwellers, craving that story. Go, you!!! And congrats on your successes!

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Edie,

      What a year it’s been, hasn’t it? I’m so glad to have you walked this journey with you. It’s a lonely world out there and great friends make it a holiday and not a hardship!

      I like the image of sitting around a fire and telling stories! That’s really what I am. LOL. Someone else needs to put my stuff in place and keep it there!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  7. Lee Lopez says:

    2011, where do I start! I had my first release out in November, Madness under the Mistletoe, a anthology. My story, It’s all about the Magic has received good reviews as have my writing partners. But-that’s where it ends. Putting that little book out, really forced me to look at who I am as a writer, what I want, and what I’m willing to do to achieve my goal.
    What hit him right in the forehead, I love to write and tell stories. Pumping out 20 books in a year is not me. I don’t think it’s wise, because the quality of the storytelling takes a back seat. It becomes, just getting a story out to keep your name out. This has been the most valuable lesson. I’m with you, I need editing, beta readers and a big stick to keep me in my chair to write. But what I want is quality not quantity. 2012, will probably see three or four releases from me. It will be a amazing year if there is more.

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Lee,
      Isn’t it interesting how milestones affect us? I have many books already written that I’m cleaning up to publish, while continuing to write more. I should probably NOT write anything new, but my soul craves the creativity. I actually just bought canvases to ease some of that drive into another direction. Lol.

      I’m trying to line up an army of helpers behind me to get ME in line as I honor the words in my head. Here’s to a wonderful 2012 for both of us. Good luck finishing the books you want to get written this next year.
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  8. Tanya Hanson says:

    HI Dale, what a wonderful saga. A hundred yeas ago I finaled in a contest by a big NY pub house and it got me nowhere other than a first book. Boo. This last year was a bit tough professionally and personally, so I’m looking forward to 2012. It’s gotta get better. I did get two CAPA noms so that’s been a good start and a great Christmas present. Best wishes as your career evolves! oxox

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Tanya
      Evolution of a career – so different for everyone, so hard sometimes and so special at other times.

      I’m so happy for your CAPA noms!! It’s such a wonderful gift – especially coming at this time of year. Starts, stops, and restarts seem to be the norm for so many of us!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Hide’n Go Seek receives an AWESOME rating!

  9. Liz Kreger says:

    Your journey is very inspirational, Dale. Congrats on your many successes. Yes, the journey was rough and had a number of speed bumps and detours, but look where it got you. Well worth the effort.

    Here’s hoping 2012 brings more success to you and lots of success to the many other storytellers out there whose stories deserve to be heard.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year. I’m looking forward to 2012 as a turning point in my life.

    • Dale says:

      Hi Liz,

      I hear you on hoping this next year is a turning year – especially for you. I wish you a very healthy and happy year – and much success with your wonderful stories!

      To all our members and readers – all the best for 2012!

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