Sunday, July 29, 2007

Through thick and thin

Writing friends. Two words that bring warmth to my heart and a smile to my face.

On a sticky, steamy Sunday morning, I'd like to give you a glimpse at a group of women I hold dear. I won't identify them so you'd be able to track them down and find them; I'd just like to give you all an idea how important is is for a writer, or this writer, at least, to have supportive writing friends.

I'll begin at the beginning...

A few years ago I enrolled in an online writing course. I'd been writing forever, had had a few things published and had even completed some long works. But I'd not summoned up the courage to send anything of any length off to a publisher. I had, however, enough curiousity about this online course to sign up.

The class consisted of a whole slew of folks from across the globe. All had one thing in common: they wanted to write. Some already wrote, others aspired to write. Some would find out, by the end of the class, that writing wasn't their forte. Others would leave inspired, having sought and found their muse. The point is, everyone enrolled in that course was looking for something. Me? I was looking for courage.

Yep, courage. Those of you that know me personally are probably shaking your heads and laughing now. Courage? Me? You know I'm the kind to bite the devil's backside and giggle when he roars, so how could I be looking for courage? All I can say is, everyone needs a boost now and again. Me? I needed that shot of courage regarding my writing.

Why? Well, I haven't mentioned that by the time I'd signed on for the course, I had two completed manuscripts written. Yes, two full-length novels, locked away in our safe. No one had read them and the way I was going, no one ever would. Heck, novels don't get read in dark, lonely safes, do they?

I was lucky. In that course I found not only the courage to unlock the safe, pull the manuscripts out of hiding and send them off to a publisher, but I found a great group of friends. They've been my constant companions through rejection, submission, publication. They've shared their lives, writing, families, friendship and love for the past few years, and I've treasured every minute of it. Without their encouragement and support it may have taken years before I swallowed hard, took a deep breath and sent out my books. They commiserated with me when I received my first rejection letter. They screeched joyfully when I got my first contract offer.

How could I not think of them this week, when it's just hours from now that one of the books I pulled from the safe is going to be released? Yes, Snowdance was hidden in the safe, and it'll be available this Wednesday. The other book was Vineyard Mambo, available in March 2008.

As I sit here on this hot, hot morning and contemplate what is happening to me, and what will happen to me this coming week, my thoughts naturally go back to that first writing class. I smile and consider the joys of friendship found between the lines of weekly writing assignments. I am so thankful for having met these women.

So dear Manda in Indiana, Nashville Vickie, Karen in Virginia, Aussie Judy and California Robyn, thank you. You're incredible women, and I am forever grateful for the way you've been behind me through this writing adventure. I hold each of you in a special place in my heart, and am eternally glad we met in Eva's writing course.

When I signed on for the course, I hoped for courage. I found it, but I found something else just as important as courage. I found friends who understand my dream of being a published author, friends who have such big hearts and unflagging faith they never let me lose sight of that dream. I found friends I hope will be friends for a lifetime. Or two. :)


Manda Newlin said...

I remember a certain writer named "Betty"! Makes me all goose-bumpy and misty-eyed to see how far you've come. Glad to be part of your journey to becoming a PUBLISHED NOVELIST!