The road to publication is not paved smooth with tar, nor made visible by navigational signs. Rather — it seems – it’s an internal path trail blazed by the author’s sacrificial hand, a combination of whatever materials are readily available – wood strong enough to endure the blows of rejection, metal nails capable of driving home a project despite trusted people not showing up or offering feedback.
As an author, you will get dropped.
You will get lost.
You will feel worthless.
“Fortitude” is not strong enough of a word for what it takes to get traditionally published, and destiny doesn’t cut checks. “Pure grit” will only serve you for so long, as the odds are stacked too high to muscle your way through.
I’ve known some of this from the jump. Most I’m learning as I trail blaze.
At 25, I made a special commitment to self, a vow not to let my biological clock or some man stand in the way of becoming a successful writer. I had heard too many stories of female writers who never quite made it because they got married or had babies instead of reaching their full potential. This is natural. It’s okay. It’s just not okay for me. I am unwilling to sacrifice my dreams at the foot of a man or bear a child whose dreams I couldn’t endorse because my own were compromised and left unrealized. This pact has served as the one constant thread weaved throughout my novel writing journey — the unrelenting backbone forcing me to stand up and forge ahead when I think I have nothing left to give, like the spine of a novel ensuring the pages intact.
And this November, I received the above Tom Jenks Workshop flyer. The universal timing felt right and, after doing some research, I sent out my first professional query seeking acceptance into his June NYC workshop. Tom replied with a soft and polite rejection. I took a couple of days to collect myself, and then with the help of my writing coworkers, responded back to Mr. Jenks in a short email. In it I thanked him for his candor, his quick response, and told him that although I wasn’t going to be in the workshop I was looking forward to doing the reading. This last line touched him and got me a phone interview, after which I was offered a slot in his June workshop. This is a huge win for me – not only am I getting closer to the gatekeeper’s door, but I have several focused objectives to prep for June.
A Warrior Princess