Isn’t it odd that we usually don’t realize the significant moments in our lives until long after they are over? I was reminded of one on Sunday during an interview with Luke Abaffy of the Author Feast website. I was talking about how obsessed I used to be with my career, and how miserable I was during those first years after BORDER CROSSINGS came out. In other words, I wasn’t enjoying the ride; I was always looking ahead to the next mountain (goal) I wanted to climb. And on Sunday as I gave advice to new writers hoping to break into the business, and urging them not to take it all too seriously, I remembered the moment that my life changed. For the better.
My career was in shambles. My editor had left for another publishing house. My publisher had turned down my fifth novel—and had informed me that my fourth novel would not be released in mass market (despite the contract.) My agent, having received several rejections of my new proposal, wasn’t returning my calls. In other words, my “career” was crap. I felt destroyed. I even doubted my own talent. I didn’t know where to go from there. I wanted to give up. Go get a real job…give up on my dreams and the destiny I’d always believed in.
I remember I was out and about one day during the midst of this career crisis. Had to get out of the house because I couldn’t write. What was the point, anyway? Clearly, I didn’t know how to write. The first four novels had been flukes, apparently. I’d gone into Barnes & Noble. Not sure why. That certainly wasn’t a way to raise my confidence—seeing all the published books from writers I’d met throughout my four years of being in the “in scene.” Why them, and not me, I wondered? What had I done wrong that my books weren’t selling, yet, everyone else seemed to make the New York Times Best Seller List with little effort at all (it seemed.) I still don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe I didn’t invest enough in promotion. Maybe I was lazy. Maybe I just didn’t have any business sense. Or maybe it was because I wanted to be a writer, not a business person. Looking back, I can see it was probably all of those things. All I knew at that moment, though, was that I’d crashed and burned, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I left Barnes & Noble, got into my car, and burst into tears. And I prayed. “God, I don’t know what you want me to do. From the time I was a child, You had me telling stories, writing stories. I know this is what I’m meant to do, but if that’s so, why is it I’m failing at it? I don’t want to give up, but I can’t take this constant rejection. I feel worthless, like I have nothing to offer. What is it you want me to do?”
Of course there was no answer. Not immediately. But it came within moments. After I’d finally cried myself out, I turned on the ignition and the radio came on. The song coming from the speakers was Train’s “Calling All Angels.”
I’m not allowed to write more than a line or two of lyrics because of copyright issues, but it starts like this: I need a sign to let me know you're here. And then the chorus: I won't give up if you don't give up.
I couldn’t believe it. It was like God was speaking to me. He wouldn’t give up on me if I wouldn’t give up on myself.
It was shortly after that that I got my writing mojo back, and I finished TANGO’S EDGE, and then wrote LILY OF THE SPRINGS. I tried selling them to
, but it didn’t happen so I self-published. The best decision I ever made! I took back my power, and I never looked
back. I will never doubt my destiny
again. I am a writer, and I’ll never let
anyone tell me I’m not. Yesterday I read
a quote on Facebook that I absolutely love: Do
Not Underplay the Artist and Writer for they Create What Once Did Not
Exist. What a beautiful thought—a powerful thought. We do create
what once did not exist. I’m going to
print this out and tape it near my computer, so any time I’m feeling like I’m
not good enough or talented enough…or lacking in any way, I
can read this and remember that I have created what once did not exist. How cool is that? New York
So…just remember…no matter what your challenges are, if you ask God for help, He WILL answer. Just be prepared to listen. You never know when God will speak to you…or when the angels will come when you call on them. J
Congratulations to Marilyn Nowlin of Houston, my January website contest winner. Be sure and stop by my website and enter this month’s contest.
Good news! BORDER CROSSINGS is now out in audio, and available at www.audible.com. http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_2?asin=B00BCR7K0S&qid=1360712623&sr=1-2
And did I tell you about my daughter’s book? Yes, writing runs in the family. My daughter, Leah Speer’s, first book came out in December titled MUST.HAVE.WINE. A TOAST TO MOTHERHOOD. http://www.amazon.com/Must-Have-Wine-Toast-Motherhood/dp/0615716792/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360712459&sr=1-1&keywords=Leah+Speer If you’re a mom, you need to read this book—a collection of heartwarming, humorous and sometimes dead serious articles about motherhood.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope you get lots of chocolate. J That’s what I’m hoping for.
P.S. If you’re familiar with Train’s song, “Calling All Angels,” check it out at YouTube. It’s an awesome song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaG9SDxwPBg