You hear it all the time when people are trying to make sense of their trials in life…
“The struggles only made me stronger. I wouldn’t change a thing.” Maybe you’ve even said it to try and ease the pain of your writing journey.
While the first part of that statement may be true, struggles do make us stronger, to be honest, you wouldn’t change a thing? Really? Oh, I don’t know. I can probably go back through my entire life and find things that I would change. But let’s focus on my publishing journey.
Would I change the fact I thought I had to shelve my writing for ten years while I raised my kids?
Yep, I wish I would’ve found the support of other writing women and organizations like ACFW and Experience Writing sooner so I could slowly improve my craft instead of diving in like a mad woman (and messing up my priorities) when I thought the timing was right. Thankfully for young moms today, the internet is overflowing with helpful writing blogs and support groups. You don’t have to wait to write. I wish I would’ve had the resources ten years ago that you have today.
Would I change the fact I struggled to find the balance between writing, homeschooling, and life?
And I still struggle to find the time to write: running my own business, taking care of my mom and her home, now helping my grown children, and I constantly feeling pulled in every direction? You betcha. It would’ve been much easier to figure it all out instantly and not have to continue to struggle in this area, but then again, I wouldn’t have founded Writer…Interrupted, a website where I encourage other busy, interrupted writers trying to balance life and this writing thing. That venture led me to what I do today: That venture led me to what I do today: mentor writers young and old in fiction and nonfiction at ginaconroy.com. Over the decades, I’ve learned to set big goals, but to live in the now. That is where true life, love, and joy happens.
Would I change seven plus years of writing rejections and heartache?
Okay, that’s a no brainer! But it only made me stronger, right?
What about changing the years I spent doubting my abilities only to have my agent, Chip MacGregor, repeatedly tell me that I was a good writer and one day “it” would happen. While he can’t do everything (for example, Chip cannot pronounce Sacajawea correctly or do the Lindy Hop), he was right about my writing. After seven years (or eight, I lost count) of pursuing publication, Barbour published my novella and then Digging Up Death, the book he signed me with didn’t sell at first, eventually was published. Even though Chip is no longer my agent, and I’ve gone on to Indie publish my other books, he was right. It did happen. Though I would’ve changed the timing and process of it all, God knows what’s best.
Do I wish Digging Up Death would have sold the first time around?
Sure, I guess, but God has His own agenda, even if I don’t agree with it. In my finite wisdom, I’ve tried to make sense of the waiting period, and can only hope that now as a more established writer, my reach can go farther than it would have four years ago. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. But one secret I’ll share about publishing and selling books, is the more you write, the better chance you have. I’m still working on completing manuscripts myself.
Would I change all the worrying and “trying to make it happen” I did over the years?
Absolutely! There is freedom in surrendering the process to the One who gave you the gift. You should try it sometime.
Would I change the fact that those I mentored got published before me?
Um, did you really have to ask? Being left behind isn’t fun, but I’ve learned that while it would’ve been easier to have had things my own way, I would’ve missed the things I needed to learn to get to where I am… so I can be a better writer and now mentor and teacher.
I could go on and on with things I’d change, but why? While journeying through this crazy writer’s life, it’s easy to fall into the ‘woe is me’ role, believe me, I’ve been there…still visit on occasion, but over the years I’ve learned not to look at my writing journey or hardships with regret. I’ve also realized that I’d be lying if I spouted “I wouldn’t change a thing,” because I would. Instead, I choose to look ahead to the road in front of me. Be it easy or hard, I’ll face it knowing at least I’m moving forward.
Where are you in your writing journey? Are you living in the land of “woe is me” or are you moving forward?
Do you know I coach and mentor writers to get unstuck in their writing life as well as provide thorough feedback on their projects?
If you enjoyed this post from Gina, check out her fabulous video and in-person courses at www.ginaconroy.com!