When Ali asked me to hijack the Writer’s Dojo it sent me into a bit of a tailspin. What do I say to such a diverse and wide audience? Will I sound like a Shakespearean fool, trying to dole out wisdom when I really have none?
But here it is. My wisdom for the day: Take a chance.
I know. It sounds cliché. I’ve been writing for nearly twenty years. Much of what I’ve penned—novels, short stories, and screenplays—have languished on bookshelves or hard drives. But life has a way of sneaking up on you and turning things over when you least expect it. This year, I decided to abandon the traditional publishing route in favor of self/Indie publishing. Aside from not really getting anywhere with agents and small publishers, three things contributed to my decision:
- My youngest son’s birth and diagnosis of Trisomy 18 back in 2006. Trisomy 18 is almost always fatal. Most babies born with it die within a few months. Less than 10% live to see their first birthdays. Zane taught me to live in the moment, as we’re not promised tomorrow. He’s also taught me the reward of perseverance and hard work. Things that seem effortless to us are a challenge to him. I’m trying to follow in his footsteps. Zane’s website: http://www.mylifewithzane.blogspot.com
- The sudden and tragic death of my sister-in-law last year. She was only 36. A brilliant doctor; an amazingly compassionate person. She was killed in a car accident. That no-promise-of-tomorrow thing made a reappearance.
- Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Hardly anyone knows this (until now). I’ve kept this one close to the vest, only telling immediate family and close friends. Because, frankly, I’m not 100% ready to talk about it. It’s still so new. The publication of my first book, MY LIFE AS A MISFIT, happened at a time when I was going through a biopsy and learning I had breast cancer. FRACTURED was published at the time I underwent surgery. My diagnosis was the final thing that made me realize I could no longer wait for someone to decide whether or not my twenty years of hard work was worth publishing. It is. And so I opted to take the Indie route (and adopt a much healthier lifestyle, as well).
While Indie publishing is loads of hard work (it’s definitely not just about the writing), it is totally worth it. And I’m happier now than I’ve been in a long time. So…take a chance. Don’t wait around for life to slap you in the face with something tragic or difficult. Just do it. (I hope I don’t get sued by Nike for using their slogan).
Thanks so much to Ali for letting me take over her space for today. She, too, has taken the Indie route, and I’m so glad she did. I can’t imagine waiting around for a 2014 publication date for BECOME or DESOLATE. They are just too good!
My YA Contemporary novel, SUPERSTITIONS, releases on August 17th.
Susan is a mom, wife, laundry-doer, and published writer. Her essays have been published nationally, regionally, and online. I'm an Indie author in the making.