From 2001 to 2006, I raced 'Best in the Desert,' a series of long distance off road races, including 'Vegas to Reno,' known as the longest off road race in the USA. Twice I won the season championships in my class, at ages 50 and 53. I did it without the fastest bike, competing against younger people. What was the secret? Winning the war of attrition. Our team finished in spite of bent bikes, broken bones and other maladies. In 2003 I rolled to the finish line at 11:30 at night with no headlight. What does this have to do with writing?
A writer must go the distance too. Remember your first rejection letter? "How could they?" you demanded. Hopefully you rallied and got back to it. After a few (or a lot) of them, you developed thicker skin.
Or you spent big money and went to a conference, met an agent, gave her your pitch and got a no. You may have screwed up your pitch or your work wasn't a good fit. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off (I did that literally, many times when racing) and get going again. Once, when racing 'Vegas to Reno,' I crashed and broke my collarbone. I picked up the bike and rode it one handed for forty miles to the pit stop and handed it off to the others, then rode in the chase truck the rest of the day. We finished the race and won the championship that year.
Do you keep track of your submissions? I have a spread sheet with each short story, article and novel I've submitted. 134 submissions, 24 accepts. Being a numbers guy, that's about an eighteen percent success rate. It's skewed now, as I write for Author Culture, Geezer Guys and Gals (www.geezerguysandgals.blogspot.com) and Judi Moreo's 'Choices' eMagazine. I don't include those.
We've all heard the stories about Julie, who sat down, wrote a 75,000 word romance, met an agent, and she just can't write fast enough. Those are the lottery winners, one in a million writers. Most of us must press on, and being a solitary life, sometimes must give ourselves the pep talk, as the team isn't clapping and slapping us on the back as we ride into the pits. Hopefully you have a writer's group, a critique group, or a forum where you can get some words of encouragement. Here's mine: You can do it! Keep writing! Go go go!
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Simulacrum, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns.
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