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Monday, December 22, 2008

Ink and Dreams

Sara Mills is a freelance writer, wife, mother of three, and motorcycle racing enthusiast who lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in beautiful Alberta, Canada. She has two novels coming out with Moody Publishers in fall 2008 and spring 2009.

Sara collects swords, raises Golden Retrievers and has a house full of hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles and puppies. She loves motorbikes, film noir, Humphrey Bogart and The Maltese Falcon.

You can visit her website at http://www.saramillsbooks.com/ or email her at saramills@platinum.ca.

From that first errant thought ‘I bet I could write a novel’ to holding your own book made of nothing but paper, ink and dreams is different for everyone. And yet every writer wants to hear the success stories of those who have gone before. Perhaps to reassure ourselves that it can happen, that even though the map says ‘here there be monsters’ (or editors, you know, whatever your map says) we need to see that there are people who have made it across that vast ocean. Who have reached land in the New World.


My own journey took seven years and it left no part of me unchanged. I shifted from someone who generally took the easy road, to someone who was determined to do their best, even if no one ever saw the effort behind the words. I changed from being a non-finisher of almost everything to seeing projects through to the bitter (and I do mean bitter) end.


Not all of the changes were positive. I became much more selfish with my time, growing impatient with anything that distracted me from my ultimate goal. I shifted from easy-going and laissez-faire to pushing and punishing myself over small mistakes. For good and bad over the seven years it took to achieve my dream I changed, inside and out.


And now that I’m here, now that I’ve reached the shores of the New World holding my little book of dreams in my hands, I’m lost. I look around me and see ocean and forest, mountains and plains, a whole new world to conquer and explore. And it’s overwhelming. I thought that setting my feet on the shores of publication was the end goal. But looking around I can see that it was only the beginning.



There is so much more to achieve and explore, so many more dangers and unknowns here, that I’m not sure where to begin. And for the first time I feel a flicker of fear, I wonder if making the journey was such a good idea after all. But as I take my first tentative steps into the world of being a novelist, I try and remind myself that the skills I learned while making the crossing, are skills that can be honed and adapted to work here as well; Remembering that the writing is what matters, and that hard work and a willingness to learn are lifelong commitments. Knowing that rejection and disappointment will always come, but that getting back up from defeat and trying again is half the battle.


I don’t know a single writer who is happy where they are in their career. Everyone always wants to be a little farther along, a little better, more well received, and I finally see that there will always be new mountains to climb, new rivers to forge, but that there is no finish line. Just another goal and another horizon. It’s comforting in a way, to know that seven years from now, I will be completely different again, changed from the journey I’m on, from this wild, capricious New World.


How has the journey changed you? Are you still making the crossing, or are you kissing terre firme on the shores of the New World while trying to figure out your next horizon?

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MISS FORTUNE , the first book in the Allie Fortune series is a 1940’s mystery. Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York in 1947, and she’s got a brand-new mystery to solve and a years-old personal quest that doesn’t let her sleep.


4 comments:

Gina Holmes said...

Thanks Sara. It does seem when we're starting out that publication is the finish line ... until we achieve it of course and then it's "Will I get another contract?" Will I ever make a best-sellar list?" "Will reviewers and readers like my stuff?" "Can I pull off a different genre, a different style..." It never ends.

Ane Mulligan said...

Great post, Sara! And a wonderful book. :) I loved Miss Fortune; and like you, I love that era. :D

pat jeanne said...

I appeciated these words from Sara on her journey crossing over into the land of the published novelist. I'm still on the path of seeking publication. Her story was inspiring. I also feel drawn to the '40's. All the best in your continued course. Pat

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks for sharing, Sara!