Our guest blogger today is Patricia Sargeant. I met Patricia during a contest and we became fast friends. In the midst of her amazing journey from contest final to publication, Patricia wrote an e-mail series called the Road to Publication where she shared the nitty-gritty details of what it was like to go through the process. Her trials and tribulations inspired me and yet cautioned me that being published is just the first step . . . there is so much more that comes after. So please, put your fingers to the keyboard and help me welcome Patricia Sargeant!
Closing doors, opening windows
How Julie Andrews kept me sane
Thank you very much, Anitra, for inviting me to visit with you and your Title Magic community. It's an honor to be here. This is a beautiful blog, and I can definitely feel the magic.
A couple of weeks ago, Anitra and I were discussing how important it is to remain optimistic during the publishing journey, whether you're published or aspiring to become published. She told me her mother often remarked that, when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.
I love that line. It's full of optimism and inner strength. I'd heard it in the Julie Andrews movie Sound of Music. There's a scene in which Julie Andrews's character, the novice Maria, confides her heartache to her Mother Superior. In response to Maria's pain, Mother Superior assures her, "When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."
Recently, a door closed for me--with a seemingly resounding thud--on a romantic suspense proposal. My agent explained my editor didn't want the proposal. Before my heart could shatter and blow away with the wind, my agent continued, "She doesn't want that proposal, but she wants you. Can you write something else?"
Can I write something else? Quick, someone pass me a block of wood so I can prop open that window.
Rejections sometimes seem never-ending. Every whisper of hope I hear, I hook up to my surround-sound stereo system. Let me know if you want to borrow it.
So the window's propped open, and the whisper's nicely modulated on a repeating loop. My Muse is being generous and kind. Little did I know Julie Andrews was about to make another appearance.
I submitted a new story idea to my editor and waited nervously for her feedback. She liked the idea, but needed it to be bigger. Can I make it bigger? After a critical look at the synopsis, I decided yes, I can make it bigger. I fleshed out a couple of plot points and submitted the revised version.
We're going in the right direction, my editor responded. But it needs to be even bigger. Can I make it even bigger?
My stomach heaved. I got chills. My forehead started to sweat. Does anyone else recognize the symptoms of Self-Doubt? Then in walked Julie Andrews in her Mary Poppins costume. Do you remember that movie? If not, run--don't walk--to your nearest video rental store. Julie offered me a "Spoonful of Sugar" to help the medicine--also known as revisions--go down.
I recognized my editor was making me stretch beyond my perceived limitations. My options were to take the medicine and grow, or crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. I did what every writer does; I knuckled down and found a way to make the story even bigger. My editor was satisfied and I was thrilled. Best of all, the revision tips my editor shared with me will help me make other stories "even bigger." Powerful medicine, indeed.
That's how Julie Andrews kept me sane.
Anitra, thanks again for the invitation. I've had a blast. Best wishes to you and the other Title Magic bloggers for great writing success!
Win an autographed copy of On Fire by Patricia Sargeant! Simply enter a comment, then check back Monday afternoon to see if Patricia chose your name in the random drawing. Patricia will post her email for the winner so they can contact her to collect their prize.