Thursday, March 28, 2013

What I'd Change About My Writing Journey


You hear it all the time when people are trying to make sense of their trials in life.

“The struggles only made me stronger. I wouldn’t change a thing…” Maybe you’ve even said it to try and ease the agnoy of your writing journey.

While the first part of that statement may be true, struggles do make us stronger, be honest, you wouldn’t change a thing? Really? I can probably go back through my entire life and find things that I would change. But let’s focus on my publishing journey.

Would I change the fact I thought I had to shelve my writing for ten years while I raised my kids? Yep, I wish I would’ve found the support of other writing moms and organizations like ACFW sooner so I could slowly improve my craft instead of diving in like a mad woman (and messing up my priorities) when I thought the timing was right. Thankfully for young moms today, the internet is overflowing with helpful writing blogs, like Novel Rocket and support groups. You don’t have to wait to write. I wish I would’ve had the resources ten years ago that you have today.

Would I change the fact I struggled to find the balance between writing, homeschooling, and life? And still struggle to find the time to write while constantly feeling pulled in every direction? You betcha. It would’ve been much easier to figure it all out instantly and not have to continue to struggle in this area, but then again, I wouldn’t have founded Writer…Interrupted, a website where I encourage other busy, interrupted writers trying to balance life and this writing thing.

Would I change seven years of writing rejections and heartache? Okay, that’s a no brainer! But it only made me stronger, right?

What about changing the years I spent doubting my abilities only to have my agent, Chip MacGregor, repeatedly tell me that I was a good writer and one day “it” would happen. And he was right! After seven years (or eight, I lost count) of pursuing publication, my novella with Barbour released a year ago and Digging Up Death, the book he signed me with four years ago but didn’t sell at first, released this past November. Though I would’ve changed the timing and process of it all, my agent was right. It did happen.

Do I wish Digging Up Death would have sold the first time around? Sure, but God has His own agenda and His timing is perfect, even if I don’t agree with it. In my finite wisdom, I’ve tried to make sense of the waiting period, and can only hope that now as a more established writer, my reach can go farther than it would have four years ago. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Would I change all the worrying and “trying to make it happen” I did over those seven years? Absolutely! There is freedom in surrendering the process to the One who gave you the gift. You should try it sometime.

Would I change the fact that those I mentored got published before me? Um, did you really have to ask? Being left behind isn’t fun, but I’ve learned that while it would’ve been easier to have had things my own way, I would’ve missed the things I needed to learn to get to where I am… so I can be a better writer.
I could go on and on with things I’d change, but why? While journeying this crazy writer life, it’s easy to fall into the ‘woe is me’ role, believe me, I’ve been there...still visit on occasion, but over the years I’ve learned not to look at my writing journey or hardships with regret. I’ve also realized that I’d be lying if I spouted “I wouldn’t change a thing,” because I would. Instead, I choose to look ahead to the road in front of me. Be it easy or hard, I’ll face it knowing at least I’m moving forward.

Where are you in your writing journey? Are you living in the land of “woe is me” or are you moving forward?



Gina Conroy is founder of Writer...Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. Represented by Chip MacGregor, she finds time to write fun, quirky mysteries in between carpooling and ballroom dancing . Her first book Cherry Blossom Capers, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012, and Digging Up Death is available now.

16 comments:

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Ha--Gina, I was just asking that question on my FB page today, in relation to those LOOOOOOONG author waits. Would we go back and change them? I'd like to be all magnanimous and say "Of course not!" But in reality, I know if there would have been any way to shorten ANY of my waits, I would do it (I'm still trying to figure out ways to finagle it!). Yes, I've learned to write better, made tons of friends, learned a lot, built my platform. However, if I would've known how long it takes to get published, I might have stopped before I started (I'm a homeschooling mom, too. Trying to get pubbed is almost a full-time job!). But now, I've gone too far to turn back!

Michael Ehret said...

My answer of "nothing" has more to do with being unwilling to risk undoing what I have by changing the past one iota -- and yes, I do love time travel books!

However, IF nothing would change (and how could that even be possible -- hey, I'm sensing a plot...) I would go back and stay in college to get my degree rather than taking a 27-year path to a bachelors.

Elaine Stock said...

Very liberating words. Thank you! Regret is like an unchecked cancer--it grows and eats you up alive. Blessings for more novels.

Elaine Stock said...

I get you about the going to far to turn back!

Lyndie Blevins said...

I also would have sought being around more writers and writing events any if it was not my time to write yet.

Christine Danek said...

Thank you for sharing this. I hear that saying a lot and I think to myself--I would change some things if I could. Being around writers does help and I keep reminding myself that my path is my own, I must focus on what I want to do and one day I'll get there.
Thanks.

Janice C Johnson said...

27 years to your bachelors? I'm with you, brother! I took the 33-year plan, graduating in 2009.

Janice C Johnson said...

To wish we could change the past is human; to accept it, submission to the Divine. I enjoyed the post!

Gina Conroy said...

Yes, Heather! I think if we could see what lies ahead, we might turn around and run...

Gina Conroy said...

Mike, I love time travel too! Who wouldn't want to go back and get a second chance to change a major event/wrong choice in their life, but I do see your point!! Change one thing, change it all... And I DO have a plot for that I'm working on!

Gina Conroy said...

Thank you, Elaine!

Gina Conroy said...

Yes, Lyndie. Even when I can't write, it's nice to be in the presence and fellowship of writers.

Gina Conroy said...

You're welcome, Christine! Blessings on your own journey!

Gina Conroy said...

Nicely said, thanks!

Janeen Ippolito said...

Thanks for sharing--this was very encouraging! That writing fellowship is critical. I remember moving and losing a dear writers group--and furthermore, moving to a place with no writers group for forty to fifty miles.

I've finally volunteered to host one at a local library. When you need to whine about character issues and share editing anxieties and encourage each other, there's nothing like other writers.

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

Gina Conroy said...

Love that quote, Janeen!