Gina Conroy, who shall henceforth be known as Super G on this here blog, posted in Writer…Interrupted this week about her struggles as a “left behind” writer. She and I have shared this same experience. We began writing years ago and found other newbies to hang out with (albeit electronically) and encourage. However, life happened, we took a step back, slowed down, even stopped, only to watch our new friends pass us by on the road to publication.
We’re not jealous of our friend’s success. I remember the day Robin Miller (aka Robin Caroll) called me on my cell phone while I was at my daughter’s middle-school basketball game. Somehow, through the noise in that little gym, I heard Robin tell me that she’d sold her first novel. This was during a time when I hadn’t been writing for several months.
But I was thrilled to hear it. I was happy for her because she is probably the hardest working writer I know and suffered a lot of heartbreak before landing that first sale. In the meantime, however, I was disgusted with myself. I’d given up. I knew I was a good enough writer to eventually get published, but I just didn’t have the steam to push through.
After Robin, several other of my writerbuds got published. I was standing at the bus stop, as Super G says in her blog, and watching the publication bus leave without me.
Now let’s flash forward (I know, too much backstory there…deal with it, it’s my blog). My daughter is now in her second year of college. No, not on a basketball scholarship–please send money. And I am still not published. But since those days with Robin and my other writerbuds, I’ve re-entered the madness. Slowly at first, writing, learning, tending to my family and paying career. But now I’ve picked up where I left off–going full bore every day. Well, for an hour at least. You do what you can.
The hard part for any writer, of course, is finding those who will make good travel companions during the long ride to publication. Honestly, there should be a Writer’s Pub in every town (hmmm….nice name for a blog). A lonely writer could walk in, sidle up to the bar, turn to the person next to them and say, “So what’s your genre?”
Only if life were so easy. I’d probably get slapped by a literary novelist anyway. But the companions are out there. When Super G wrote that post, I knew we were on the same path. She’s got one published already, of course, but she’s still fighting the same fights as any newbie. And she writes at my pace. We write when we can. If we can’t, we pick it up another time.
I write this for the same reasons that Gina wrote the bus stop story. You are not alone. You work 40-50 hours a week, you have kids, you have laundry, you have car repairs, and on and on it goes. I get it. I’m right there with you. Yes, you’ll be left at the bus stop, too. You’ll also look out the bus window one day and notice a writerbud still standing in the little plexiglass shelter surrounded by cigarette butts and rejection letters.
Do me a favor, be a writer like Robin Caroll, Brandilyn Collins, Gina Holmes, Dineen Miller, Ronie Kendig, and a long list of others who continue to shout out encouragement to their old pals, no matter how far they’ve traveled. When it’s your turn to give back, remember how lonely it was for a while. Let’s not leave any writers behind, shall we?