Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blog Chain - Expect the Unexpected



Today is my turn on the ol' Blog Chain again, and this round's topic was chosen by the absolutely amazing Sarah, who wants to know:

What has been the most unexpected part of your writing journey up to this point? What has happened that you could never have predicted? Has it been a help or a hindrance?

Awesome question. And the short answer: EVERYTHING :D

Everything about my writing journey has been unexpected. From how much I truly love it, to how much work is involved, to how many rejections one really does get (my first novel numbered close to 200), to how long (and sometimes how fast) things can happen, to the absolutely amazing friends I've met along the way.

I started out with the very misguided misconception that I could write a book, edit it a few times (myself of course, after all, I have a masters in English, I shouldn't need help, right?), send it out, and get signed within days. My first attempt at querying didn't, unfortunately, break me of this thinking because I actually lucked out and received a few requests off my horrible query letter...and one was from none other than the Godmother of Romance herself, Roberta Brown (who wasn't even accepting queries at that time but who read mine and requested a full). 

Awesome, yes. Good for my ego, yes.  Realistic, no. I was rejected, of course, but with a very nice, personal letter that praised my writing. But, it didn't take too long to learn that querying doesn't usually go as smoothly and my journey was going to be a lot longer than I thought :)

So, yeah, really EVERYTHING about this journey has been unexpected....but I can't think of any of those things that has been a hindrance. Not even the never-ending waiting and crushing disappointment. All of it serves a purpose. I've grown incredibly close to some truly amazing people while we support each other through the lows and celebrate the highs. The long hours spent working and rewriting and shredding have served to hone my craft into something that's actually publishable. I wouldn't trade a second of it. It's helped make me the writer I am now and is shaping the even better writer I will become. 
Sometimes the unexpected can be fun - like signing with my NF agent within days of querying her, getting a request from an agent or publisher I thought I had NO shot with, or meeting another awesome writer bud. 

Really, I've come to expect the unexpected along this journey. You just can't plan for anything that's going to happen, because even the things you KNOW will happen usually happen in a completely unexpected way :) 

Bottom line....I've learned to just sit back and enjoy the ride :)

What has been the most unexpected part of YOUR journey?

Make sure you stop by the ever awesome Eric's to see his answer from yesterday, and stop by Margie's on Friday to find out what she didn't expect :)

 

20 comments:

Stephanie McGee said...

For me, what was unexpected was discovering that while I read almost exclusively YA, I can't write it myself. I can't create a convincing teenage character. Anyone younger than like 20 comes off as too old.

Working on it still because I'd like to write a book that includes younger characters.

The other thing was the variety of characters that has come to me over the past couple of years since I began my writing journey in earnest.

storyqueen said...

Michelle, this is a great post. You are right, the ride is full of highs and lows.

For me, I think I didn't expect that things would be so different for each book. Every book has it's own way it wants to be written.

Shelley

Angela Felsted said...

You have such a great attitude!

Lori M. Lee said...

Great post, Michelle! I have to agree that everything has been a surprise. I'm not far enough along in my writing journey, I don't think, to have a lot of exciting surprises, but there are still lots of ups and downs.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Shari said...

I have learned so much from my writing journey. This was a great post. I could completely relate to your feelings, except getting agented and selling a manuscript. That hasn't happened for me . . . yet.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I agree that everything, even setbacks and disappointment, can serve a purpose if you approach them with the right attitude.

asabourova said...

Great post! To be honest, the most surprising thing for me was when an agent finally did call and offer. I'd been slogging away in the query mines for so long, I'd developed the attitude that it would never happen. And then it did...

Matthew MacNish said...

I feel pretty much exactly the same way. I went in with all kinds of different hopes and expectations. Now only the hopes remain.

Gale Martin said...

Hi, Michelle. I just posted something expressing similar sentiments to this on my blog--highs and lows. It's a terribly long slog and we tend to forget few make it right away. Anyway, I wanted you to know that I appreciate the careful look and content of your blog and awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. Here is the link if you wish to accept it: http://scrivengale.blogspot.com/2011/03/hail-fellow-stylish-bloggers-of.html

Marianne said...

My biggest surprise occurred when I received a compliment on my writing by someone I wasn't related to...

writerchick6 said...

Sit back and enjoy the ride... I really like that. I wish I could do that. :-)

Monica B.W. said...

Hey there!
I think I'm like you! Everything was unexpected. I thought I was going to sell my first book and it would be a NYT best seller. Then the disappointment was so surprising. And then, after all the work, I'd thought I never get an agent. But I did! LOL... so yeah, pretty much everything!
And thx for the follow. I'm one of your old followers, but somewhat new to the blogosphere! :D
Love your blog, btw!

Madeleine said...

Fun post. The most unexpected aprt was realising how hard it is to write a short story. I thought I'sd sail through and then I realised I hadn't mastered the structure of a short story :O)

Michelle H. said...

Yes, the whole kit-and-kaboodle can be considered an unexpected help to every first writer. It doesn't seem like anything has become a hindrance for you, or anyone else on the blog chain. Perhaps having a positive attitude helps to get past the hardest parts of becoming an author -- published or otherwise.

Eric said...

Great answer, Michelle. It sounds like you've already had all the fun that so many like me have to look forward to LOL. Still, seeing how happy you are now that you are where you're at in the writing journey (wow, that was an odd rambling sentence huh), I'm looking forward to having just as many "experiences".

Shaun Hutchinson said...

So true. Enjoying the ride is paramount.

Christine Fonseca said...

Such a great Answer Michelle!

Kat Harris said...

The writer buds have been, by far, the best of the unexpecteds on this road.

Great post!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Great answer, Michelle! And I agree some of the unexpected moments can be fun too!

Cole Gibsen said...

You are so right. I have to remind myself daily that I need to sit back and enjoy the accomplishments that I've made rather than keep eyeing the horizen.