There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith
Once upon a time I was a writer. Not one that made millions off a bestseller as that is such a fluke of nature, unless you're a star or cute politician. No, I was someone who made daily journal entries and did timed writings in a big blank book. I took classes on the craft of writing. I practiced. I joined a writing group. I wrote paragraphs. Essays. Short stories. I wrote a novel. Worked hard. Took it through many, many drafts.
I volunteered at the Writer's League of Texas. Worked on their Programs and Services committee. Ran the annual manuscript contest. Read 100's of first chapters from anxious writers, eager to to discover how their work might fare in an open venue. I studied query letters and wrote a good one which received great response. Sent my book out to 52 agents, 20 of whom replied with a standard rejection letter. The other 32 were kind enough to type a rejection letter addressed to me or in very special cases, a handwritten note telling me my book wasn't for them. I felt pretty good about my rejections.
In the meantime, I sent out my essays and short stories - won some contests, had a few published. Helped spearhead the publication of a book of women's stories and poetry and served as coeditor. In that process I learned along with several other women how to write a book proposal, get an ISBN number, beg authors for blurbs, and ask the lovely Liz Carpenter (may she rest in peace) for a foreword. The generosity of writers is most heartwarming.
When the book was finally in hand, we organized readings at book stores and literary organizations. Coffee shops. Sold books out of our trunks. Donated all the proceeds to NAMI - The National Alliance on Mental Illness. One of the authors in our book had succumbed to depression and we wanted to honor her memory by choosing a worthy charity.
All those aspects of the writing life filled my days when I wasn't being a full-time housewife, civic do gooder, and mother. Having learned tremendously from the rejections of my first novel, I took a few more in depth writing classes and began a second novel. One hundred pages in, I fearfully found work outside of the home due to business not going well in my husband's line of work. The recession sent me back into the workplace, with old, worthless or non-existent credentials. My writing dwindled to crying into the pages of my journal and an occasional timed writing. I edited/critiqued work for others and did some pro bono editing for a few publications. Other than that, my writing mind took on other junkets.
Come to today. My dear friend, ES Carlson, has issued an ultimatum. Emails me that she will no longer send me any of her work to critique unless I send her a new chapter from my novel in progress. A new chapter - due Friday. Bitch.
I just blew the dust off the pages I have. I'll let you know if I succeed.