Monday, August 12, 2013

Flying Solo

It is only alone, truly alone, that one bursts apart, springs forth.

~ Maria Isabel Barreno

So much of what I do is solitary. Whether I'm playing the piano, making jewelry, or working on my novel, it's just me, myself and the work. 

Heck, since my divorce twelve years ago, I haven't even been able to make a go of a relationship. But that's a different subject for another day.

As a piano teacher, I do what I can to make studying music less lonely. I play duets with my students; I organize in-studio workshops with other children; I provide incentives to earn scholarships, trophies and awards; I host an annual spring recital. As a musician, I am privileged to be a member of a professional piano ensemble. I believe it is important to play well with others.

As a writer, however, it is easy to get lost. I joined Georgia Romance Writers on my 50th birthday; I will turn 54 on Thursday. Yes, I have been an active member of the group and have enjoyed the camaraderie of the writer friends I have made there. But the daily grind of putting words on the page is a solitary pursuit - and one that often feels completely pointless. Despite my best efforts, I have yet to acquire an agent; all my requests for partial or complete manuscripts have resulted in utter rejection. Sometimes I wonder whether that time wouldn't be better spent cleaning the house. Or baking cookies.

Or reading something wonderful.

Last week, though, the first thirty-five pages of my young adult manuscript finalled in a prestigious regional competition. I am still trying to wrap my head around that. I am thrilled; I am terrified. Now that I have the affirmation I have been seeking, I know I need to up my game. All that time I have spent not writing? Cleaning the house? Or baking cookies? Or reading something wonderful? 

I need to spend it writing.

My dream is to be a traditionally published novelist; I want this as much as I have ever wanted anything. There are no short cuts; hard work - and a little bit of luck - are essential to the process. There have been days I have been tempted to throw in the towel. But I can't quit now. 

Writing a compelling work of novel-length fiction is the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to do. More than 80% of people claim to want to write a book, but fewer than 1% actually do.

I am a part of that tiny 1%. And if fate is kind, and luck is with me, perhaps I will join that even smaller percentage of authors who are published in novel-length fiction.

I believe. 

I. Truly. Believe.

10 comments:

Julee J. Adams said...

W00t! Keep up the good work and wishing you much more success!
I'll be thinking of you on your birthday, but unfortunately, I'll be a little busy....You can do this!

Denise Stewart said...

A little birdy told me your young adult fiction rocks...keep at it.

Libby said...

Have you thought of self-pubbing one novel? The reason I ask is that some agents/publishers are more willing to publish you if you can get some sales on your own. Just a thought.

S.M. Carrière said...

I'm so excited for you, Pam! This is wonderful news. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed for you!

Steven Heath said...

You'll get there, I can feel it in my soul. And I can't wait to pick up that novel at the shop!

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Julee! I'll be sending you all my best wishes on my birthday. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery!

Pam Asberry said...

Was it a Boo-Bird, Denise? ;-)

Pam Asberry said...

I don't think my work is ready for that yet, Libby. But at some point I just might consider that option!

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, S.M.! I need all the luck I can get!

Pam Asberry said...

I like the way you think, Steve! Thanks for your support!