After I finished my very first manuscript I thought I was in a solid place as a writer. I’d heard stories about people who had been trying to write a book all their life but never finished. Once I wrote “The End” on that sucker, I felt like I’d accomplished something major. Something life changing. And I had, just not in the way I expected.
After I put the period on the very last sentence of that book, I was sure I was going to get an agent. Then selling that book? It would be done in a snap. Boy, it was sure nice to live in that naïve little bubble for a while, but reality soon popped that dream in the form of dozens of rejections.
I was heartbroken when that book never attracted the attention of an agent. I was sure it was a masterpiece until a critique partner pointed out that it was far from it. After that, I went into a funk. I swore I’d never write again. That trying to structure a story was too hard. Rejection was too painful.
While I was wallowing, I received an email from said critique partner who asked when I was going to send her something new. “NEVER!” was my short reply. She pushed on, sending me more emails, trying to encourage me to open up my laptop and try again. Then one day she sent a short, somewhat terse, message that read, “Who are you writing for anyway?” Incredibly perturbed, I shot back, “Well, readers, of course.” Then it hit me. I wasn’t writing for readers or because I wanted fame or fortune. I was writing for me. I had stories I wanted to put on paper. Characters who pulled at my every thought-demanding that I give them life.
Once I had that epiphany, things changed in my writing. I came back full force, writing a new manuscript, and then another, until I finally connected with an agent. Yes, it took me three tries before lightning struck, but I was bound and determined to make this writing thing work.
It may have taken a while, but that single push from a friend forced me to look at writing in a whole new way. Instead of being bound and determined to be noticed, praised, even read, I decided I needed to write because it was what I was meant to do. Someday I know I’ll sell a book. It may not be tomorrow, next year, or even in five years, but I’ll continue to work because I finally know exactly who I’m writing for-me.