While I was procrastinating cleaning the other day, I decided to sit down and look at what I’ve accomplished since I wrote my first complete novel. It was 2002. I was 20. I’d spent the previous seven years trying to write novels and never finishing. In fact, from the age of 13 to 20 I started over 50 novels. Some spanned 50+ pages, some never survived chapter one.
In November of 2002, I was a junior in college. I was supposed to have been working on my twenty-five-page research paper for my Old West class. Instead, I signed up for NaNoWriMo and wrote a complete 50k contemporary romance. (Still managed to get a B+ on the research paper. Procrastination works, kids!)
So, from 2002-today, this is what I’ve done (though I don’t have stats on amount of unfinished novels from ’02-’10. If I ventured a guess? 20ish).
I had my son in December of ’09. In March of 2010 I got serious about publishing. August of 2010 was the first time I submitted, and despite a rejection (probably because it was a revise & resubmit), it was the first time i truly believed writing could be my career. I started with my critique partner in February of 2011. March of 2011 is the last time I held an outside-the-home job. October of 2011 I signed my first publishing contract. Followed by one in July 2012, December 2012, then my two-book contract a few weeks ago.
From the time I started working with my CP, only two finished books remain unsold/not currently submitted.
It has not been a swift or quick road. My list doesn’t include the number of times I completely rewrote a novel either. Both All’s Fair and Flight Risk had numerous versions before they sold. At some point I’ll have to compile my rejection data.
Everyone’s story is different. Some people’s journeys are fast. Some people have luck or connections or just amazing talent on their side.
Sometimes for me it feels like this journey is molasses slow. Even though I haven’t been trying to get published for that long in the grand scheme of things, I’ve been writing since I can remember. Writing stories of people falling in love. It’s what I’ve always done.
Whether you’re a veteran or just starting out, your journey will be unique and your own, but if it’s going a little slow sometimes it helps to see other people’s inching journey and know you’re not alone.