Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Twitter Rant/The Dream of a Writer


Last night, I went on a Twitter rant about advice I would give my younger self. One tidbit I said I would impart: Never, ever quit your job without having another one lined up. While I do regret quitting my job, I half-heartedly believe that piece of advice. Why? Because I don’t think the idea for my first book would have come to me if I didn’t quit my job. And I know I wouldn’t have found the time to write my first novel while I was employed because I’ve never been good at multi-tasking.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a writer. When I was twelve, a lady from my church gave me my first journal. Since then, I haven’t been able to put the pen down. Most of what I wrote was poetry, something I delved into so I could explore (and make sense of) my turbulent emotions. As a teenager, I called myself writing a “teenmance” about a black girl in an interracial relationship. Needless to say, I never finished it, so I gave up on the idea of being a novelist because I thought I didn’t have anything to say that I could devote an entire book to.

It wasn’t until I quit my job as a development coordinator that the idea for my first novel, A Recipe for Disaster, came to me and it poured forth from the core of my soul. I was proud beyond belief because I finally COMPLETED a book I had started. A Recipe for Disaster was about the office politics that took place at a law firm called Pittman, Lowe and Robbins. One of the main characters was a poor, white woman, and the bigwigs in New York who read it couldn’t get past Brittany. That novel never got published, but it is (and will always be) my baby.

Then Zaire’s Place came to me. Again, the bigwigs in New York passed it over even though many of them praised my writing. Of course they were worried about a market for it and how much money it would make. And with Rebecca being a white racist, I’m sure they had issues with that. So I put Zaire’s Place away and almost gave up on my dream of becoming a published author, but a friend from the past popped up and urged me to keep going. I resurrected the query letter and submitted it to smaller publishers. It was All Things That Matter Press that saw the potential for Zaire’s Place

Don’t worry. I’m going somewhere with telling you this story. My point is this (and it’s my favorite quote): “In the end, it all works out. If it hasn’t worked out, then it’s not the end.” I know this quote is true because of my experience. If I never would have quit my job, I never would have found it in me to write a full-length novel. If I never would have been homeless for a few months, I never would have stayed with that friend who urged me to pursue my dream of being a published author.

Of course this is not the end of my journey. Really…it’s just getting started. But no matter how it goes, I will always remember that it’s not the end until it has worked itself out. And that’s the thing I would tell my younger self.

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