What Now?

4 Apr

I’ve loved books forever. As a young girl, I was never without something to read. Whether it was a library book (best smell in the world, in my opinion) my brother’s tattered MAD Magazines or the back of a cereal box, I devoured words. Books allowed me to escape into a world of my own choosing; they took me on adventures, they let me be somebody else for a little while when it was too painful to be me.

As a kid, my dream was either to become a concert pianist or a writer. I ended up pursuing music because I was pretty good at it, although I don’t think I was ever competitive enough to make it as a concert artist. Instead, I became a piano teacher. Truthfully, I’m glad I chose that path as it allowed me the chance to raise my four children while I worked from home.

My other dream–the writing dream–never did die out, though. For years I fantasized about writing a novel but never did anything about it–either I was too busy or the fear of failure stopped me before I even wrote that first sentence. That changed when my youngest daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve beaten that story into the ground so I won’t rehash it, but I will say that experience was the turning point for me. The lesson was obvious: time is short so follow your passion.

I got to it. I began blogging. I published an essay in a small magazine and one in an online publication. Nothing big, but it was a start. I blogged some more. Then I sat down and began writing a novel. I blogged some more and got better at my writing.  I joined a writer’s group and shared my stuff. They liked it. Now, ninety thousand words later, I have actually finished a novel.

Now what?

Here comes the hard part. Being new at this trying to get your noel published game, it’s like I’m starting back at square one. Everyone has opinions on what to do: send out queries; find and agent; no, no–don’t do that–self publish instead! I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can help you.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what happens. I wrote a novel and I loved the process of writing it. I didn’t do it for the money or the glory (well maybe a little.) I did it because there was something inside of me pushing to get the story out. I did it because I couldn’t not do it any longer.

Dear readers, I thank you for hanging in there with me over the past several years, always encouraging me to keep going. I value your support more than I can ever express. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Now if I can only come up with a decent title for the damn thing.novel on desk



19 Responses to “What Now?”

  1. Tracey April 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    Congratulations for finishing! This is a huge deal. So remember to treat yourself. The path to publication is so tough and chuck full of pitfalls, it’s a wonder anyone gets there, but it’s perseverance that matters. There were plenty of times I considered giving up (a few of those were this weekend).

    • Allegro non tanto April 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

      You’ve been a real inspiration to me, Tracey. Watching you persevere through the process has given me courage!

  2. Jayne Martin April 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    What a beautiful sight that is. Congratulations, my friend. An awesome accomplishment.

  3. Becky Green Aaronson April 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    Hooray!!!! You did it!! I’m so, so proud of you!! Congrats on doing something most people only dream of doing.

  4. rottingpost April 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    good luck. want my list of unused titles? 🙂

  5. Hildegard April 4, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    Wow, congratulations! What a satisfying stack of papers in that picture! 🙂
    Best wishes on the next stage of the process!

  6. Becki Norton April 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

    Go, Jess!!!!
    Re: Title: I suggest asking your subconscious (and guides/ angels if you believe in that) to inspire you with a title while you’re sleeping/ dreaming right before you go to sleep — even write the question on a slip of paper and put it under your pillow. Keep a notepad by your bed so you can easily jot ideas down as they come to you.

    • Allegro non tanto April 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

      Totally love that idea! I will manifest exactly what I need! xxoo

  7. Sharlae Jenkins April 4, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

    Congratulations!! So proud of you and what you’ve accomplished! Wow!

  8. kristinann2013Kristin April 4, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    Way to follow your dreams! Mike says, “Go, Jessie!”

  9. Deborah Mele April 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    I have an encouraging true story for you. Unfortunately I don’t remember her name, but I remember her story. She told such good stories that friends suggested she dubmit them, she did for many years. She soon noticed to kind of rejection letters: personal and impersonal. Every time she received an encouraging rejection, she and her husband would go out to celebrate. She has become a major writer for children. Get ready to celebrate. Sent from my iPhone


  10. Bonnie Gerstenfeld April 4, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    It’s only the beginning of your next chapter…I loved the excerpts I read (or was that just a synopsis). Hungry for more!


  11. debatterman April 5, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    Indeed, now comes the hard part. And, yes, everyone’s got different ideas re: how to go about it. But one thing is consistent– everyone in this band of writers you find yourself a part of is with you every step of the way. We know what it takes to get those words out– the days they flow, the days they stumble, they days they surprise us. It’s the journey, as you so wisely suggest, that has keeps us going, even with eyes on that sometimes distant goal.

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