Monday, March 12, 2012

Story idea? Check. Laptop? Check. Self-Confidence? Um . . .

I remember back in the day, when I worked at a newspaper, sitting at my desk and grumbling to a fellow reporter.

I had this idea for a book, I told her, but I wasn't sure I would write it. It probably wouldn't ever get published, I said. I didn't have any big-shot connections; I didn't have any money. I didn't know anybody in publishing.  And really, what else could I do?

It was a solid idea - a newsroom murder mystery - but the odds were stacked against me. I wasn't sure I'd even try.

My colleague - her name was Kathleen - looked at me intently with her big blue eyes. She had amazing eyes, beautiful eyes, the kind of eyes described in romance novels. I wondered often if her sources were taken in by the guileless look of those eyes. Kathleen was actually sharp as a tack; her reporting tactics were fearless.

"Oh, I don't know," she told me then. "I think if you've written something of quality, there's always a way to get the word out. You just have to believe."

This was years ago - before e-readers, before Amazon, even before blogs. But she was right. Writers were still crafting queries, still creating chapbooks, still selling poetry from the trunks of their cars. If they believed in what they wrote, they were absolutely relentless about spreading their words.

That's the key, isn't it? To believe, to keep the faith? But that's so hard sometimes. It's much easier to sit, to grumble about the other guy getting all the breaks and wait for that sweet publishing deal to simply land in your lap.

It won't. You have to make it happen. Kathleen knew that, way back then. Me? I'm just a slow learner.

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