I have been writing for publication--the big dream most writers have--for ten years. In the spring of 2013, I sold my first book to a small publisher. Sure, I remember that feeling of excitement when it came out in the spring of 2015 and hoping it made it big. All those thoughts writers entertain. Then reality set in. I sold around 500 copies and made less than I did for a Chicken Soup story. But I told myself that's what happens with first books. You just need to write another book. A better one. It's not about the money, it's about never giving up.
I've been telling myself that same story with each novel I wrote. I studied the craft, hired editors, used critique partners, beta readers, promoted myself on social media. What more could I do? When I landed an agent with my book in the fall of 2014, I figured my hard work had paid off. Now I would land a contract with a big publisher. Wrong again. This spring, I learned my book had been passed by the big three.
I parted ways with my agent in September. I felt she could use her time with better writers. Besides, I hadn't written anything new after finishing my tenth novel that spring. A book for the general market and my agent worked in the Christian market. I wasn't sure what I was doing anymore but I knew that the big dream was not doing it for me. I was miserable.
I missed storytelling for the sake of telling a story. I no longer wanted to write a certain genre or style to satisfy a publisher or an agent or to get published. When I realized how I felt, I also realized it was time to do something else.
At first I thought I might never write again. But on the advice of a writer friend, I sent out a few non-fiction articles here and there and received good news. I started with non-fiction and enjoyed writing stories that moved my heart or those I wrote about.
Then I thought about the stories I told my grandchildren--how their eyes lit and how they hung on each word until the very end. Princess stories. Hero stories. Feel-good stories.
When I started my writing journey, I wrote stories because I loved the story. I wanted that again. And so with the help of a dear friend here, I may do that again. The story might never be published. But that's okay. I'll write the story for my granddaughter. Maybe someday I'll write one for my grandson.
That's a big enough audience for me. The best audience.
And if the Lord should have different plans for my writing, I'm listening. But I think He's happy that I've found my love again and will use my skills like this.
The hardest part of this decision was releasing that crazy dream. Learning to be content and let go of that goal. But in the past few weeks, I have discovered the new dream is much, much better.