I came up on this anniversary a month or two ago and thought, “I should write a post about that!” and then I worked on an actual book instead.
I’ve been writing for longer than eight years–since I was small–but I have been writing seriously for eight years now. By “seriously,” I mean several hours every day except Sunday, with the hope of getting published.
That’s a long time.
I wrote on the computer in our student apartment while my first baby slept next to me. I was so worried about him that I wheeled him around in a bassinet to wherever I was, even while he was sleeping, so I could watch him and take care of him. Neither of us slept much that first year, but somehow we both managed to dream.
I wrote in the tiny basement apartment where we moved next, where the computer was smashed right up next to the bed. I hurried out to the mailbox every day so the people upstairs wouldn’t get the mail first, because I was embarrassed for them to see all the manila-enveloped rejections coming back day after day.
I wrote in the sorority where we were the house parents for the lovely sisters of KKG, in between their knocks on the door and the second baby crying and the sounds of frat boys and parties out in the hall. In those tiny two rooms off the entrance to the house, I wrote two books and slept even less.
I wrote in my own office for nine months in our first house (bliss!) before I happily gave it up (the office, not the writing) for the third little one to have a room.
I moved to a corner of the basement and kept writing. I wrote MATCHED. I knew it wasn’t a good fit for my regional publisher, and I was scared.
I took a deep breath and started to query again, relieved that this time we didn’t share a mailbox with anyone else.
And, almost seven years after I started, I finally had an agent for the very first time.
Now another year has passed and my book is out in the world.
If I could have shaken the magic eight ball back when I began and asked, “Will I ever be published nationally?” and seen the answer float up “yes,” I might not have believed it.
Sometimes I still don’t believe it now.
So if it feels like it is taking a long time, hang in there. Can you do it?
The answer is “yes.”