Stories that Matter

Where Are You Going?

And how are you going to get there?

It’s so easy to get frustrated with the writing life. Some days it feels like this picture. A long, dusty road, no end in sight. You get thirsty. Lonely. And oh, so tired. The great misconception among unpublished authors is that publication is The Promised Land. You live for that day. All the waiting is over. You’ve finally made it. You’ve achieved your dream…cue sappy music and children dancing through corn fields…oh, wait. Yeah. Never mind.

Cue sappy music and Julie Andrews running up a mountain wearing an apron. There. Much better.

The truth is, as sad as it may be, publication is NOT the end. As wonderful as it is, my experience has been that it’s just the beginning. And being a published author is far more stressful than not being published.

What’s that?  Nope, that wasn’t a typo. But that’s another post. Today I want to talk about The Road. (And not the awful movie).

If you’re reading this blog, I’m assuming you have some interest in writing. You’re a published author, a soon to be published author or a reader who loves connecting with authors. Because I want this to be an interactive blog and not just me blathering nonsense at you, I’m going to ask some questions so we can get to know each other. If you’d be so kind as to answer them for me, I’ll know where you are on your journey and create future posts that you’ll find helpful.

1. Who Are You? (Yes, if you read my Friday Featured Author posts, these questions will be familiar. 🙂 ).

2. Where Are You Now?

3. Where Are You Going?

It’s only fair that I go first, right?

Well, you know the answer to #1. If you don’t, check out the About Cathy section at the top of the page.

#2. This one cracks me up. I love the answers that go something like this: I’m sitting at my kitchen table, enjoying my second cup of Emiril’s Big Bold, staring out at the choppy ocean, coming up with a blog post that will blow your socks off…

Yeah. That may be exactly where I am at this minute, but who cares? I love it when authors think outside the box on this one. Where are you now? Are you in a good place with your writing? A hard place? Are you in the prime of your life or facing some dark days? We can go anywhere with this question. Hint: It’s also a great one to ask your characters.

#3. I think the third question is the toughest for any author or hopeful author to answer. We don’t know where we’re going because we’re really not sure where the publishing business is going. Editors come and go. Agents switch agencies or stop taking new clients. Publishing houses are being bought and sold like Whitney albums. Everything seems to be in a constant state of change. And it is. For me, it’s pretty stupid to dig my heels in and refuse to change along with the business. I may as well pack it in right now. I think we’ll all have a different answer to this question, but mine is this:

“I don’t know. And I’m okay with that.”

So what about you? Will you play my game? And here’s a final question for you:

What writing related topics would you like to chat about on Wednesdays? 


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  1. Donna Pyle on February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Cathy, thanks for this very real look at the writing life: “Some days it feels like this picture. A long, dusty road, no end in sight. You get thirsty. Lonely. And oh, so tired.” Even two days before I turned in my Bible study manuscript, it felt like that. I’m just a writer peep like you, but focus on Bible studies and non-fiction. I love teaching Scripture and have the privilege of traveling around to do just that. Now that the manuscript has been turned in, I’m turning my attention to the next DVD series – exciting stuff! And as far as where I’m going? Wherever the Lord opens the doors. I can’t see that far ahead, but trust His hand that guides. Thanks for letting us get to know you better – and be pea green with envy about the location from which you’re writing this post. 🙂

    • Cathy West on February 22, 2012 at 11:42 am

      Sounds great, Donna!! I know how you feel because some days, as I said, I do feel like I’m on that road! The feeling comes and go’s with regularity. Some weeks are great, some weeks all I do is look at Facebook!! LOL!

  2. Keli Gwyn on February 22, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I’ll play, Cathy.
    1. I’m Keli Gwyn, writer of inspirational historical romance set in the second half of the 1800s in the far western U.S.
    2. I’m awaiting the release of my debut novel in July and learning all I can about promotion.
    3. I’m polishing another book that I hope my publisher likes, brainstorming three more stories I’m eager to write, and looking forward to the ACFW Conference and Books & Such Retreat this fall.

    • Cathy West on February 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

      We are all awaiting the release of that novel right along with you!! I can’t wait!! And I’m looking forward to seeing you at those two locations as well, Keli – definitely ACFW and we’re working out details for the B&S retreat so I’m hoping to be there as well!

  3. Lindsay Harrel on February 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    1. I’m Lindsay Harrel, writer/editor and long-time reader.
    2. I’ve studied the art of writing in school (journalism and English degrees), but am now studying the art of writing novels in particular. I’m sending off my first ms to beta readers next week, entering contests for feedback, and working on brainstorming ms #2 (inspirational women’s fiction, by the way).
    3. I’m headed down the path to a full-time writing career. My dream is to get a great agent and work from home writing novels for publication.

    • Cathy West on February 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Lindsay – Love this comment ‘entering contests for feedback…’ that is such a great way to look at it! I’ll have to blog on contests some time. I think we get so caught up in the win or lose concept that we forget the invaluable experience of having fresh eyes read our work. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your writing!

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