On dreams and writing.

Yesterday I got good advice. I was in a FB conversation with some folks and Derek Murphy, and mentioned I had about five or seven novels that were all polished and ready to go, but I haven’t published them yet. Derek said, “Publish them! Don’t sit on them. Get them out there now.” Well, that’s good advice. Why put off until tomorrow what I can do today?

What Derek said made me think of something else. I was watching a motivational YouTube video called 4 Years Later: Write It Down Make It Happen earlier this year in which she said that what you want to do is accomplish your dreams – and then you can move on to your next dreams, because those old ones are done. You achieve your dreams so you can start pursuing new dreams — bigger dreams.

That is the absolute best idea I’ve heard for a long time.

I’ve been working on these novels for decades. Seriously, since 1996. I kept trying to make these stories better, trying to get agents to pick them up. I got so many requests for full manuscripts from these agents – but every one came back as a No. I have an MFA for writing for children from Hamline University, which is a damn good program. I sent out hundreds of queries to agents and editors for my books, maybe even a thousand. But I got only that one yes for the Civil War book.

I’ve dropped the agent dream. When you have professionals in the field telling you No over and over, it does something to you, even if you are tough as nails. I lost faith in my ability. I got to where I just couldn’t write anything without thinking “is this good enough will they like it what am I doing wrong this is all wrong,” and this is not a very good place to be in when you’re writing.

With self-publishing, though, that’s all changed. I’m relying on myself alone. The writing, the marketing, the reader outreach — it’s all up to me. But I know I can handle this. I make my own luck, my own success – and I will, because I want this enough to put in the hard work and make it happen.

I’m writing again, and I am having a blast. Guys, you don’t know how much I love indie pubishing. Book covers and interior layouts are a lot of fun to build. And of course, getting my stories out there where people can read them is the best thing ever. I can’t wait until I get all the old stories off my computer and out into the world. Then it’s on to a bunch of brand-new stories … Oh man, what a day that will be!

I do admit, I worry about this newsletter being a little confusing for you guys. I am going in many, many, many different directions at once. I have the Civil War book, I have all these YA and MG novels, and then I have all these gardening books. I thank all of you for your patience as I try to get this ironed out – and apparently my plan for ironing this out is to PUBLISH MORE OF EVERYTHING.

Hey, it works for me! I hope it works for you guys, too.

(This means that Outlander’s Scar is going to be showing up on Amazon very soon, and will be quickly followed up by its two sequels, Wandering Stars, and Silverlady’s story. Stay tuned.)