Grab a sedative or some wine or a really strong cup of coffee, because a little history lesson might be necessary for this post. And since history wasn’t my best subject in school—right under math and science and anything that didn’t start with LUNCH—I’m sorry for what you may find yourselves having to endure. But here goes.
In January of 2009, after years and years and years and years of wanting to, I wrote a book. I had a newborn daughter—the youngest of four children—and a million reasons why I didn’t possibly have time to write a book, but I did it anyway. I’d spent my whole life writing. Songs when I was a kid, short stories when I was in Jr. High, more songs in high school, newspaper articles in college, greeting cards and magazine descriptions and lots and lots of other stuff when I was an adult. But never books. Because what did I possibly have to write about?
It took me forever to figure out that I only needed a tiny little idea, and the rest would grow from there.
So I wrote that book over the first part of the year. By May it was finished. And then I sent it out to every literary agent listed in my big ol’ Writer’s Market book. And I do mean all of them. Here’s the sad part—I didn’t realize I was supposed to edit it. Like, the whole book. Who has time for that? Geez. It took me long enough to write the stinkin’ thing.
What came next was a few requests for more material, followed by forty-five rejection letters. Forty-five. Thanks but no thanks. Don’t call us, we’ll (never) call you.
A little discouraged but not totally knocked down, I shook myself off and wrote another book. After some research, I knew better this time. So I edited that book. Sort of. Then sent it out. And got twelve rejection letters with zero requests for more material. So I crammed that book in a drawer to let it gather dust.
Disheartened and feeling severely lacking in talent, I tried hard to brush it off that time. It was a little more difficult, but I wrote another book. Edited the heck out of it. Sent it out to five literary agents. Got requests for more. Yay me. Followed by five rejections. One was so awful that it was covered in pizza grease and coffee stains and went something like this: “You suck at writing. Get a job flipping burgers, instead.” Paraphrased maybe, but you get the idea. The guy wasn’t a fan.
At that point I was done. DONE. I’d written three books, had a stack of rejection letters that could have kept a bonfire going for hours, and apparently I stunk at it. I was the Carrot Top-equivalent of comedy. The Enquirer-equivalent of excellence in journalism.
I sucked, and I was finished.
My writing strike lasted a whole week.
Because on a Monday morning in 2011, I was standing in front of the mirror getting ready for work, watching GMA, and listening to Robin Roberts announce that Kim Kardashian was getting a divorce. After a whole four weeks of marriage. I really admire people who stick it out (eyeroll). Anyway, I got an idea for a book that morning, and in the way that ideas sometimes go, it grew. And grew. But I didn’t want it to grow, so I reminded myself that I was done with writing. But then myself reminded me that I was an idiot. So later that afternoon, I grabbed my stupid computer and sat down at my stupid desk and wrote the first chapter of that stupid book.
That stupid book won a writing award last September.
That stupid book passed through the Publication Board at B&H Publishing last December.
I signed a contract with B& H Publishing for that stupid book and two other stupid books just like it yesterday afternoon.
That stupid book really is a little stupid, but I kinda like it. As much as a person can like her own book, anyway. The publishers liked it, though, so I guess that what matters.
And on February 1, 2014, that stupid book will hit the shelves. Two more will follow shortly after.
I. Can’t. Wait.
PS: For those of you who’ve asked, B&H published The Vow, The Love Dare, October Baby, books by Beth Moore and Oliver North (who are both waaaaay smarter than me) and a bunch of other books I can’t remember but you can look up on their website. B&H also owns Lifeway bookstores. Just in case you need a point of reference.
By: Amy Matayo