For a long time, I did not tell anyone I was writing a novel. I was afraid. I didn’t want to fail and then be held accountable for that failure. I wrote and kept it secret. Slowly, I told my family members and my closest friends. Eventually, I decided to start this blog, and I officially announced the journey I had been on. That accountability changed my life as a writer. There was no option to fail. I had told people I was writing a novel and there was absolutely no way I was going to go back on my word. I succeeded and it is, in part, because I didn’t want to tell my family, my friends, and by virtue of the Internet, the world, that I could not do what I set out to do. I am a very stubborn, persistent, proud person and telling, sharing, became essential to my progress.
When it came time to set this novel free and try to get it published, I experienced the same kind of fear. I did not want to tell people this goal. How many rejections would I receive? How many times would I lose my way? How many novels sit on people’s shelves before they get the 5th or 6th or 100th book published? Why would I announce a goal nearly impossible to achieve?
But I thought it through. The first time I started talking, it worked. I finished what I set out to do. I figured it could not hurt to tell people my latest goal. It turns out I was right.
My advice to you is to go tell someone you wrote a book. And here’s why:
It came up in random conversation with a co-worker. I told her what I had done. That night she was riding the train home from work and sat next to someone from a big publishing house. Of course, she thought of me. Now I have that person’s contact information and a reference I never thought I’d have.
My friend Mike reads this blog (Lord knows why) and his friend from high school is a literary agent. He reached out to her on my behalf and now I have a valuable connection.
I was chatting with a colleague about my novel. Her friend of many, many years, from summer camp is also a literary agent. Another valuable connection I never imagined having.
After chatting with a children’s writer I work with at my day job, she told me she was in the process of completing her first novel. I shared that I had just finished one myself. Together, we discussed our writer woes. And she asked me about getting ready to query. She’s not sure what her next step should be. I happen to know a little about the next step. After all, I’m in the midst of it. We’ll be chatting again very soon, when she has written ‘The End.’
What good things have happened to you when you uttered the words, “I wrote a book…” or “I’m writing a book…”?