Friday, March 22, 2013

Ditch the Expectations and Watch Out for the Good Stuff

I recently watched a movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. An exchange between two actors has stayed with me all week.

Evelyn: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.
Muriel: Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.

This couldn’t be more applicable for my writing journey. Many authors write multiple books before ‘the one.’ I was certain the first book I wrote was the next “Secret Life of Bees.” (It wasn’t.) Then, I was inspired to write my first young adult novel — which featured a ghost just as the market was getting oversaturated with ghost/paranormal stories. Then, my cozy mystery flowed so effortlessly (well, not that effortlessly) and was so well-received that I sensed I’d have a career as a mystery writer. (I didn’t.) 

Somewhere along the way, I went back to an idea that had been niggling at my brain for some time… a story about a high school girl whose face had been burned in her stepfather’s meth lab explosion when she was little. I had even purchased a couple of books on burn survivors for research purposes.

This week, that book (titled Facing Fire) is featured in two different online contests whose purpose is to get book excerpts in front of literary agents. My book is doing well in BOTH contests. One agent loved my excerpt so much, he asked to see the full manuscript immediately. In the second contest, my excerpt was chosen one of 60 entries that 15 agents will review next week. There were 427 total entries.

It takes some faith (and tears and chocolate) to keep writing, to keep revising, to keep querying. But when I put away my expectations for what a writing life should look like, opportunities opened up. I need to remember this feeling for the tears/chocolate times ahead.

1 comment:

  1. Life happens when we least expect it, especially when we relax our grip and quit trying to force it in a certain direction. It doesn't mean we can't take steps toward our goals, we just have to be open to opportunities that we might otherwise overlook.
    Congratulations. And remember, chocolate is helpful regardless of the situation!