This post is for my fellow (yet to be published) writers out there. I've been thinking for quite some time about how to word this post and now, having failed to come up with anything brilliant, I've decided to just pour it straight up.
If you are waiting for your publishing white knight to ride up and save you from the depths of your own obscurity, go ahead and get comfortable, cause you are (more than likely) going to be there for awhile--maybe forever.
Now before you think I'm about to get all ranty and foot stompy about "Why not me publishing world?!?!" Give a girl a second to explain herself.
First off, who is this magic white knight leaving waiting-to-be-discovered writers in the dust? Maybe it's those contest judges who are marking up your manuscript with a careful balance of praise and critique. It could be your dream agent (or hell, let's face it, it might be ANY agent.) What about that editor at that small press you submitted to last week. Maybe it's any one of the Big Six who have been sitting on your submission for six months (confession--this was my white knight all through 2011 and half of 2012.) My point is, wherever you are along the continuum between "Just Started Writing My First Book" and "My Book Is Being Published" if you are waiting for some "professional" to pull you up out of the collective mud--stop.
Stop waiting for someone else to crown you, "Author" or "Professional Writer" or "Grand Master Writer Of All The Stories Worth Reading." You must (MUST) move into the life that you want first BEFORE any of the other people (judges, agents, editors, givers of the 5 star review) will show up at your party. YOU have to pull yourself out of the mud, look around, spot the particular mountain you want to climb, make a plan for getting there, and then show up everyday (or as often as you possibly can) to implement your plan.
It took me a long time to get this--I'm still "getting" this. But I want to share my personal examples (because I like me some personal examples) about my own journey (so far) starting in 2002, when I started writing my first book, to 2013 when my first YA novel will be published by a small press.
Disclaimer: I am STILL on my journey. I am STILL learning many, many things about myself, publishing, and how to create the change I want in my own life. But I think it can be valuable (to some people) to see what changes have happened in my life in this pursuit of becoming an author and, more importantly, how NONE of these changes had anything to do with being rescued by a "professional" and had everything to do with deciding on a target, taking aim, and shooting at my mark.
So on tap for tomorrow: Pulling myself out of the mud and washing the dirt from my eyes (back then, it was probably with my own tears.)