Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Signing That Almost Wasn't - Part II

Part II will also be my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. Keep reading. I promise it ties in. If you missed Part I and would like to read it, it’s here.

I continued driving and at one point thought I missed a turn. Glancing at the clock - 6:57pm - I started to panic but knew I was close to the bookstore. “Just keep going and hope for the best.” Maybe I could turn around up ahead. As I passed the library where I listened to Laurie Halse Anderson speak last year I realized that I hadn’t made a wrong turn after all. The bookstore was only a couple of blocks further. I found a parking space across from the store, and thanks to my weird but awesome ability to parallel park in one swipe, I entered Wellesley Books at 7:05pm. I quietly headed downstairs and around the corner to a small, cozy gathering. The organizer for the night's event had just finished speaking and Laini was introduced as I sat down in my seat (and said a silent ‘thank you’ inside).

There were maybe 40 people in attendance, mostly teens and young adults. Laini stood behind a table with a small podium on top. Three walls lined with books framed her – the perfect backdrop. Laini’s lovely smile and pink hair lit up the room as she talked about her new book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and how it came to be. She had been writing a novel and working on it a long time, but it wasn’t going well. (familiar) A new novel idea came into her head and she gave herself permission to cheat on the ms she had been working on for one day. (familiar) This new and intriguing story started pouring out as she wrote but it was important for her to complete the novel she was working on. So she went back to the former ms and finished writing it before continuing her new ms. (also familiar) The previous novel she told us, “never saw the light of day,” but she didn’t feel like it was a wasted effort. She went back to working on Daughter, turned the first 6 chapters in to her publisher (they loved it), and finished writing it.

Laini then read an exerpt from her novel. There’s something special, magical about listening to an author read from her own novel, and if you ever get the chance to go to an author event, I’d highly recommend it. The scene started out humorous but ended with an emotional ache that is written beautifully. I instantly fell in love with the MC, Karou, and I’m really looking forward to reading her story.

How does this tie in to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group? I mentioned in Part I that I really felt like I needed to get to this signing – to listen to a writer who has made it. I’ve been having some serious doubts about whether or not to continue with pursuing publication. I don’t think I could ever give up writing, but at this time in my life, actively working daily towards writing – blogging, commenting, finding time to write – is taking its toll on me. I suppose if I felt confident about my current ms, I could handle the exhausting schedule of daily life plus writing life; in other words, if I felt like I was making progress.

Did you notice all the times I wrote "familiar" up above? My experience with writing my ms is eerily similar to Laini’s. I’ve worked on my current ms for almost 2 years now. I started out strong but I’m losing my momentum and am having a lot of doubts about it. Last year, I took a break during Nanowrimo and started writing a YA that I was really excited about. However, I promised myself that this time I would finish a novel, the one I'm working on - Nitpicky. That’s where I am now, trying to finish it so that I can turn my attention back to the YA project. I can’t tell you how consoling it was to know that a struggling writer like me can share a similar experience with an incredibly talented author – and it’s okay.

(Laini and me)

After Laini’s presentation, we went upstairs to have our books signed. I thanked her for coming so far from home to speak to us (she’s from Oregon) and told her that I also write for teens. When I shared with her that sometimes I wonder if I had started too late in life to become an author for teens, she gave me some advice. I’d like to pass that along to all of you, especially if like me you’re in a stage of your life where you’re thinking it’s too late.

There are two perfect times to plant a tree. The first time was 20 years ago. The second time is now.

and don't forget: "Just keep going and hope for the best."


  1. I love a happy ending. And it's nice to get advice from someone who's been there. Never give up - you never know what's just round the corner!

  2. That is such a beautiful quote. What great advice. I too struggle with my writing sometimes, we all do, but I also have some mentors who have "made it," and they make all the difference in the world.

  3. I needed to hear this right now. I won't stop writing but I'm starting to think that aiming for publication is a pipe dream.

  4. What a great post. No time like the present to start doing what is in your heart. It's never too late.

    I just started this book and so far I love it.

    I wonder how writer's choose which excerpts to read. Must be tough.

  5. Very good post! I'm new, by the way. I think we have all been there, but it is nice to see the ones who made it to keep that light shining at the end of our tunnel.

  6. Wonderful post, Suzie.

    But I want to hang out with you and talk books too!

  7. Wonderful.
    And yes, I fully believe that no writing is wasted writing. It all goes toward improving our skills.

  8. What a nice post. So FAMILIAR, as I too am in your shoes. I just finished my first novel not too long ago and I'm seeking representation. It will be three years in March when I typed the first words. In the meantime I started two new ya novels and have ideas/plots jotted down for another two. Not to mention a sequel for TWO HALVES. Whether I get published or not though (which would be a dream come true) I know that I cannot stop writing. You are not alone, keep writing and the fruits of your labor will blossom and ripen.

  9. Ugh. SO true. I feel like this often. I try to ignore that little annoying voice in the back of my head that says "You. Will. Fail. You. Will. Fail. You. Will. Fail." But its hard sometimes. With work, blogging, spending time with hubbs, writing, social obligations and finding time to relax and just BREATHE... I feel like there is never enough time to devote to "getting published" as I need to.

    So I'm with ya! I LOVE hearing about published writers that at one point were NOT published writers, and shared the same insecurities, pressures and concerns that we (the unpublished lot) face.


    Maybe someday we'll get to tell our "getting published" stories to a crowd. Wouldn't that be somethin'? ( :

    P.s. New follower alert!

  10. like everyone said: no time like the present!