(Disclaimer: I apologize up front for this brutally long post,
but I had a lot to say.)
It’s four in the morning and I can’t sleep. That’s not to say I didn’t get a couple hours of shut eye early on, because I did, but then I got all hot and rolled over and I let my mind sift through a few things from the day before and wham, there was no going back to dream land. It wasn’t entirely unexpected. Yesterday was a big day for me and I was still running on its fumes. More importantly, three different things happened to me yesterday that, at first, seemed totally unrelated, but when I lay in bed, unable to shut my mind off from yesterday’s excitement, I realized that these three events were all, in fact, closely related.
I will take these events out of order. First, I received an email from a friend, someone I met online last year, someone who was like my third or fourth follower back when I was a newb. I ‘ve gotten to know her relatively well through her blog postings and her comments on my posts. She even recently asked me to critique some of her first chapters of her WIP, which I consider to be a real honor because she immensely talented. Anyway, she wrote me and asked if I thought blogging was a waste of time, aside from meeting new people I like. She said she didn’t quite see the purpose of it. Well, even though I was in the middle of an important revision, I felt the need to write her a quick note because I do, indeed, think blogging is worth it.
See, I wrote a book last year and I didn’t know the first thing about writing. So when I was done with my first draft, I jumped online and started researching all those things we writers research when we’ve written a book, like how to format, how to query, building a platform, and finding critique partners. This brought me to Nathan Bransford’s website where I garnered all sorts of delicious facts and tidbits on all things writing. More important, I posted a notice in one of his forums asking for a critique partner. That’s how I found Lisa Regan.
Lisa and I started working closely together, critiquing each other’s manuscripts and a true and wonderful friendship was born. This was also about the time I started my blog. I didn’t know the first thing about blogging and, frankly, I found it a real chore, but I kept on finding something new to post about and every time I did, Lisa was there to cheer me on. Then I managed to sneak a new follower in every once in awhile, which inspired me to keep moving forward. During all this time, I was trolling the blogosphere and meeting new writer friends.
At times, my motive was not entirely pure. I was feeling rather unpopular and felt the need to swell my follower army just to feel halfway good about my progress, but I wasn’t always a good follower myself. So I started focusing on making connections instead of collecting friends. Once I did that, I stopped being consumed with my stats, how many hits I was getting or followers I was adding. I must admit, I’m still a comment whore. I can’t help it. I simply love to receive comments from people, whether they follow me or not, because it feels like I’m truly connecting with someone. And that’s what I love most.
Part of the reason I even wrote a book was because I was lonely and bored. I had moved to a new town, one I didn’t particularly fit in well with, where it was difficult to crack into the established cliques and make friends. So when I made these connections through the blogs, whether it was through mine or someone else’s, it really felt like I had made a friend. And while I usually kept my two social networks separate—Blogger and Facebook—I started pulling a few of my Blogger friends into my Facebook realm, which is much more personal. That meant within Blogger, I had started meeting and connecting with a few folks on a very personal level. I was feeling rather fulfilled.
But more than fulfillment, these connections were actually helping me both be a better writer and advancing my career. While ultimately nothing came of it, Lisa did refer me to her agent so I had a chance at pitching my novel to an honest to God gatekeeper. Alas, that was probably eight months before my manuscript was really ready to be pitched, but good or bad, I learned a lot. And I was eternally grateful to Lisa for believing in me and giving me that chance.
I recently met another wonderful writer, (God, I want to say her name, but that might not be cool with her so…) one who was further on her journey than just about anyone else I’d met so far. She was both agented and under contract with a publisher and her book was just about to hit the shelves. I was thrilled to have met her. She was friendly and knowledgeable, and did I mention friendly? Yeah, I really liked her. Then I won a copy of her book. Now this wasn’t the first time I’d won a copy of someone’s book, but I felt a real connection with her since she, like me and Lisa, wrote adult thrillers. Better yet, she lived only about an hour or so away from me. And better still, she was relatively new to the area and understood my difficulties with making friends in a community where the weather was so bad, folks just can’t stand out on the street and chat much with their neighbors.
After receiving her book, we emailed a few times and decided to meet in person and have lunch. That was a bout the best damn lunch date ever! I loved hearing all about how she wrote and polished her book, how she queried and landed her agent, and all the interesting things that go into obtaining and negotiating a publishing contract. It was like meeting my idol and I wanted to be just like her, in a professional sense that is.
I dream about little else other than landing an agent and someday being published. I’m sure she realized this and graciously referred me to her agent, letting me know she was cool with me dropping her name, if need be. (Boy, did I ever!) That was another toenail in the door, my second. So, even though I was on query hiatus until September, with my friend egging me on, I jumped right on that and queried her agent that very day using what I like to call my new and improved Robin Query, aptly named after Robin Weeks, who critiqued my query during a contest in July.
That was Monday, two days ago. Now, I don’t want to go into all the details, but things are looking up for me, at least today. While I have no illusions, I am hopeful.
My point to all this is that blogging has put me in touch with some wonderful people, people who have helped me polish my novel, who’ve taught me how to writer better, who’ve inspired me to write a better query, and who’ve helped me make connections that ultimately got my book out there under the noses of those who matter. Most importantly, I’ve met people who keep me moving forward, even in the face of repeated devastating rejection. Simply put, I could not do this without my friends and followers here on Blogger. So is it worth it? You bet it is!
I did mention three things, didn’t I? Well, the third was a blog award I received from Nicole Pyles over at The World of My Imagination. Thank you, Nicole! This is further proof that blogging is worth the time and effort. Awards like these introduce bloggers and bring them new followers, always a nice thing!
This is the third award I’ve received recently and I am most honored. I must admit though that I feel like I’ve been neglecting my writerly duties since accepting my first award and participating in blogfests and penty memes and such, which is probably why I’m burying this at the end of a way-too-long blog post, but I do want to thank Nicole and do my duty as a recipient. Having said that, other than supposedly being “versatile,” I’m not quite sure what this award is for, but here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them (check)
2. Share seven things about yourself (ugh!)
3. Pass this award onto other recently discovered blogs. (see below)
Seven things, huh? Okay, here goes:
1. I live in a town I can’t stand filled with rich snobby people, but it’s so beautiful here I just can’t make myself leave…yet!
2. I am an interior designer who has no formal training in creative writing, but I love to do it just the same, and I don’t think I’m half bad. Of, course, I’m probably not half good either.
3. I have two dogs, Jack, a Malamute, and Maleah, a Husky, and they are two of my very best friends who manage to keep me sane with their unconditional love.
4. I miss
California, especially , since moving here nearly 7 years ago. San Francisco
5. I’ve never actually met my very best friend in person. She lives nearly 3000 miles away and we “chat” nearly everyday via email, Facebook, or texting.
6. I’ve been with the same man for over 28 years, married over 20 of those, and have been gifted with an intelligent, articulate, ambitious son who brings me joy every day.
7. And in one week, my 16 year-old son and I are leaving for a 2-week long College Road Tour Trip back to
. I’m exhausted already just planning it! California
Now for the passing of the torch: I’m going to mention some blogs I haven’t awarded or highlighted before since we all need a little recognition to help swell our armies.
1. McKenzie McCann of The Ubiquitous Perspective because she is a smart, sassy teenager who knows entirely too much.
2. The East Coaster at Published in a Year because she’s ambitious as hell. Have you seen how many WIPs she has? Like five!
3. An Alleged Author because she’s a great supporter and this is one award she hasn’t received yet!
4. Robin Weeks because she rocks! I just love her. She gives great advice, and did I mention she helped me write a kickass query? Yeah, baby!
5. Kimberly Krey at The Write View because I just dig her blog.
Whew, over 1800 words, that’s a record! Thanks for your patience!