Welcome to February’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, created by Alex Cavenaugh.
Intent. The online dictionary says the following on the subject.
Purpose; design; the state of a person's mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object; meaning or significance.
I started writing later in life…mid-fifties. My intent at that time was to hold a book in my hand…my words, my name on the cover. That intent became a reality when Saving Gracie was published in 2012, the year I turned 60.
After my third book, Time Trials, was released the end of November 2015, I realized my intent had changed. From just having a published book, I now wanted to be recognized for my writing. Three quick signing parties at the worst time of the year, the sales died off a bit, and the calm of the New Year rolled in. Two years had passed since the release of Partly Sunny, my second novel, so I had to rethink my strategy as to how to promote Time Trials.
Some head-scratching took place before the ding-ding-ding sounded in my head. Oh yeah, I needed to submit for editorial reviews, enter contests...that sort of thing. After submitting Time Trials to Readers’ Favorite, I became ecstatic at the five (1-2-3-4-5…I counted) stars I received plus the glowing review. What a high…
Then I started googling items like “how to get a review from the New York Times” (answer: forget it) and then Publisher’s Weekly, a significantly high-profile reviewer. They’d even established a special section for self-published authors. That seemed doable. Still on the magic carpet ride high from my 5-star Readers’ Favorite review, I sent off Time Trials.
Before going to sleep Monday night I checked my emails. Big mistake. Huge. This is what I found in the subject line from Publishers’ Weekly/Booklife…
Your project has been declined for review…
Then some nonsense about hoping I wouldn’t be discouraged and please consider submitting any future projects. Really? Declined to even read the book? Not a way to drift off into la-la-land (which in my case is an oxymoron…my sleeping habits have never been la-la-land).
Tuesday morning. New day. Thank goodness. I started to think and remembered my intent of wanting to be recognized for my writing. But I took it a step further. What does that look like? Does it mean I want to see my books showcased in the window of Barnes & Noble? Do I need to reach the best-sellers NYT list? No, but let’s face it…it would be nice. Do I want to make a million dollars? Okay, stop laughing, JK Rowling did...
I’ll be 64 years old this month (seriously, is that right?). I realized my life is full, and I write because I enjoy the process. Developing characters, personality traits, and their own voice is one of my greatest pleasures of writing. I treasure people telling me how much they enjoy my characters. Just this past Monday I received this message: “Wanted you to know I’m having trouble wanting to finish Time Trials because I am not ready to let go of those people’s lives yet.” Another note: “I just love your books!”
Now, that makes me smile. That is what my intent looks like. That makes me happy.
I’m sure I’ll re-evaluate my intent in a couple of years.