Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Never Cry Writer

As most writers are painfully aware this is a path full of false starts and crushed hopes, but still we charge forth because we’re passionate about what we do. Nothing – and I mean nothing – can stop us from trying as long as it takes to get our stories out to the reading public.

Being writers of fiction, it’s all too easy to create our own fantasy world in which we are famous, best-selling mega stars. The dream is just around the corner. At least in our hearts. Trouble is the people closest to us begin to tune out all those glorious proclamations about making it big. My husband’s heard it a hundred times before.

                                         Praying for publication to the Incan Gods during a writer’s retreat in Belize.

Belize, Fall 2003

A call from the house phone at Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge located deep in the jungle. I am part of a weeklong writer’s retreat put on by lit mag Zoetrope: All-Story.

Nikki: Seb! I did it! I feakin’ did it!

Seb: What?

Nikki: The editor of Zoetrope loved my story and wants to publish it in the magazine. I made it! I’m going to be a published author. Finally!

Seb: That’s great.

Nikki: See. It was all worth it.

Conclusion: Never heard a word back. When I contacted the editor she said a) the rest of the staff wasn’t as enthusiastic about the piece as she was and b) she was no longer the magazine’s editor.

Sometime in 2005

Nikki: Seb, I’ve got it! I’m going to make it big. BIG I tell you.

Seb: Uh-huh, like I haven’t heard that before.

Nikki: But you don’t understand… I’m writing romance. I’ve got a real shot here. Over 50 percent of the market is romance and it’s what I was born to write. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it sooner. All those day dreams I made up when I was younger. Sneaking regencies inside my mother’s shopping cart. Loving Jane Austen…
                                         Dining table/desk where I completed two historical romance novels during the 15 months we lived in Central Oregon.

November 2009 – March 2010

After finishing my third historical romance novel.

Nikki: This is ‘The One’.

Seb: I thought the last one you wrote was the one.

Nikki: No, that one wasn’t good enough. Mark my words. This is ‘The One’.

Seb: You keep saying that. I don’t believe you anymore.

Nikki: How are you going to feel when I’m a best-selling author and you talked to me this way?

Seb: We’ll see then.

Nikki: You’re not being supportive.

Seb: (Getting angry.) I’ve supported you this past year while you stayed at home not working.

Nikki: I was working.

Seb: Making money.

Nikki: (Sniff.) Fine. I’m not ever talking to you about my writing again.

                                         The gray days in the Pacific Northwest makes for cozy writing weather.

January 2011

Nikki: I’m going to earn extra income writing erotica.

Seb: Where have I heard that before?

Nikki: But this is erotica. Erotica pays and I can use the money to support my other writing projects.

Seb: Yeah. Um, hmm.

May 2011

Nikki: I know I never said I’d write a vampire novel, but I came up with this idea for a YA vampire series 
and I’m really excited about it.

Seb: What happened to erotica?

Nikki: I’ll still write erotica and historical romance, but this vampire series is going to be what makes my career.

(Seb ignores me.)

Nikki: Seb, are you listening?

Seb: Yeah, Nikki. I’m sick of hearing about this. You were going to be published five years ago. I don’t believe you anymore.

Nikki: But Seb, it’s a young adult vampire novel. I’m telling you, this is going to be made into a movie. Seb?


  1. Hi Nikki!
    When all is said and done and you're published and on the shelves of B&N, just remember one thing:
    It was YOU that got you there.
    No one else.
    Sure it's great to have someone cheer you along - believe me, my husband took the cake on losing interest in my writing, many moons ago. But I'm not doing it for him or anyone else that didn't believe. I'm doing it for me.
    And he'll be sad when I don't mention him in my dedication. :)
    Nice to see another Pacific Northwesterner! And I'll be here to cheer you on - just keep at it!

  2. Oh, I forgot to mention - if you're looking for a great on-line writers group, I'm a member of a good one, The Write-Brained Network (or the WB for short):
    The Write Brained Network

    I head up the YA subgroup (YAwesome Writers) and would love to have you! As well, we have a great local Seattle chapter that tries to meet up every few months - if you can ever make it, it'd sure be great!

  3. Erin: Great to connect! I signed up on The Write Brained Network and your YAwesome Writers subgroup. (Love it!)

    The meet ups sound great. I'll see if I can ever combine it with an off island excursion. I rarely venture to the mainland, especially with the ferry cost now around $55, but that's hugely tempting.

    Thanks again for the heads up on these groups!

  4. Yeah, Nikki - just saw that you joined!!!

    And Bridgid over at the WB oversees our local Washington writer's group - and is pretty good about giving advanced notice of upcoming meetings so everyone can plan.

    Of course, anytime you venture on over to the mainland - let me know! I'd love to meet up too!

    Feel free to reach out via my personal email:

    Happy Thursday!

  5. I can totally picture you two having these conversations! Just keep writing! Your blog posts are always entertaining, so your books must be just as awesome. :)

  6. hehe I can relate to this. The writing career is a long, slow one. I think the best thing we can do is not give up.

  7. Why dont you publish on Kindle, already?!

  8. Heidi - I'm still in editing mode. The manuscript(s) need to be in mint condition. I'm the kind of person who usually jumps the gun. This time around I'm being careful to really iron out the wrinkles and strengthen the overall voice. One way or another I'll be releasing titles by next year.