Friday, January 14, 2011

Guest Blogger Sara B. Larson: A Journey Of A Thousand Miles . . .

Begins with a single step.

So often I hear people say, "I've always wanted to write a book, but I just don't have time." Or "I don't know how." Or (insert excuse/reason here). Or maybe they’ve written a book, and say, “I want to get an agent, but I just don’t think I’m ready.”

My advice? Take that first step. And then another. And another. Make your goals a priority. Devote just thirty minutes before bed to it, instead of watching that sitcom. Read books like the one you want to write, so you understand what's out there, why yours is different and what you have to offer. Find a class or a critique group to help you and motivate you. Sit down, and start typing. Sure, taking steps into the unknown is scary and oftentimes hard. You might land in a mud puddle, or twist your ankle, or get stung by a scorpion or something (hey, I'm trying to be philosophical), but don't give up. Don't quit moving forward, because you never know which step is going to be the one that will propel you to your goal. Even the painful steps have meaning. When you do reach your goal, it will feel that much sweeter.

I first started writing books when I was in second grade (or at least those are the first ones I can remember writing), so I've been writing for a while. I still have my Little Mermaid notebook that I wrote them in. Not too many of my "early works" were fairy tales though, despite the cover of my notebook. I was a... precocious child. I'm sure my parents would agree. I wrote a story about a girl whose mom had a premature baby. There may have even been a "to scale" drawing of how big the baby would be. Also, it may have been written when my mom was six months pregnant with one of my sisters. I'm sure my story was very comforting to her.

Anyway, the point is, I started early. However, that doesn't really matter. Whether you are eight, or eighteen, thirty, fifty, or eighty--if you have a story you've been wanting to write--I say start now.

None of us can change our pasts, but we have absolute power to influence the course of our future.

On the hardest days of my journey to getting an agent, I would tell my hubby, "I wish I didn't care so much. I wish that I could quit, and have it not matter." That might not make much sense, so let me try to explain. Even in my darkest moments of self-doubt and frustration, I knew I didn't have it in me to quit. I wanted it too much. Even if I felt like it right then, I knew that within a few hours, or maybe a few days, I would be back at the computer revising my book, or reworking my query, maybe just sending more out, or deciding it was time to work on a new project to give me hope for the future. I couldn't quit, because I didn't want to be fifty, or eighty, and think "What if?"

"What if I hadn't quit?"

"What if I would have sent out another round of queries?"

"What if I would have written just one more book, and that would have been the one?"

“What if, what if, what if?”

persevered and I finally reached the first major milestone of this business after two years. I got an agent in 2010.

But guess what? The journey doesn’t stop there. You have to continue to believe, to persevere, to keep taking those steps forward. Revising with your agent. Being on submission to editors. Revising with your editor. There is always more work to be done. But I have to say, every milestone I reach sure makes me glad I never gave up.

Take that first step, and see where it leads you. 



sueallen2546 said...

its 530 in the am and Im blubbering. I REALLY needed evvery line that you wrote. sara,, you really get your readers. Ill B reading UR blog 4 sure.

Ari2525 said...

My friend just told me about this blog and I'm a fan of the banter, the wisdome and the feeling of friendship.

Today was a hard day at work, reading Sara's post has made me feel better already, I am ready to face my gnome, and not give up.

Elle Strauss said...

I've "quit" writing so many times!

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I love that you are living without regrets. It's so easy to lose sight of why we do what we are doing. It's those moments that we quit. Fortunately, even when we quit, we can come back when we realize that we will be happier if we keep on truckin'.

Thanks Sara for the referral to this blog. It looks great!

Russo said...

Sara, you are incredible. My fave line was " You have to continue to believe, to persevere, to keep taking those steps forward."

I'm putting this on my quote board. Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful post!

jjsundevil said...

According to russo I need to majorly chill out Time to chit-chat with my gnome slayers.

Hey dolls this post is wicked smart Sara you are divine I;m gonna keep moving fowqard like ya said.

scott.densley said...

Dang it. Saras smart and sexy.

densleybrandis said...

Of course thats my caveman husband who said Sara's sexy. hey babe, did you love the idea of taking steps into the unknown?
Sara's incredible.

Janiel Miller said...

Thank you, SuperFAB Sara, for your wonderful and insightful post. You have many fans. People here think you're sexy--89 months preggo or not!

DL Hammons said...

I'm looking for a writing/life coach...want the job? :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

So inspirational! "Even the painful steps have meaning." That's a great point. Every step is a part of the journey, isn't it? But you have to keep stepping or the journey stops! Looking forward to seeing where your journey takes you, Sara!

So glad I followed you to this blog. Looks like a great one to follow!

Janiel Miller said...

Hi Carolina! Isn't Sara great? Welcome to our blog and I hope you enjoy it here as we battle the gnomes that try to stand between us and writing. And life. And creating in general.

Thanks everyone for your great comments. This is what I love about the writing world--Everyone learns from everyone. It's a generous world to be in.


Russo said...

Well said, Janiel. I agree with everything you said.

scott.densley said...

I know what gnome to challange-the gnome of being appropirate. Sorry gnomeslayers & sara. Ill be better behaved.

Sara B. Larson said...

Thanks for having me! And thank you for all of your comments everyone. I really appreciate it. (Even the random one about me being sexy... although appreciated, I'm not entirely sure how he would decide that from a blog post... but thanks anyway! Also, I'm not 89 months preggo yet, Janiel! Give me a few more before we get there...) And D.L. I would be happy to be your life coach. I charge $8 million. No? Okay, how about $100,000? That's an amazing discount!

Anyway, thank you for all of your support for my thoughts on this. The funny part is that I ended up needing to be reminded of these things myself last week, probably more than anyone who read it. :)

Janiel Miller said...

Scott, it's all good. We're friends. :)

And Sara, being called 'sexy' whilst pregnant is always a bonus, yeah? And sorry about the 89 months bit--by my third kid I felt 89 months pregnant at 2 months. I imagine you look like you have a jellybean taped to your hips at this point, whereas I always looked like it was a torpedo . . .

Thanks again! It was a message we all need to hear. :)