Before I decided to take my writing seriously, I was many authors’ worst nightmare. I was the person who always said – some day I want to write a novel. One day when I have time, I want to be an author. You name the eye rolling phrase about wanting to be an author, or desiring to write and I said it. I said it but I did nothing about actually achieiving the goal. People would ask me jokingly if I had finished that novel yet.I won’t bother to rehearse my excuses, just know that they were good and that I never finished a manuscript. I would start and then, something would happen. It never seemed as good on paper as in my imagination. Or life would get in the way.
I won’t bother to rehearse my excuses, just know that they were good and that I never finished a manuscript. I would start and then, something would happen. It never seemed as good on paper as in my imagination. Or life would get in the way.
What changed my attitude? In short, I became ill with gall stones and thought now or never. I became determined to achieve my goal. Nobody else could achieve that goal for me. I had to do it and I was arrogant to believe that I could tell stories.
It was not easy. My family is busy and there are always reasons why I should not be writing. I started getting up an hour early each morning and writing. It became my time for me. I also decided that I would only work on one story at time and I would see it through to the end. One of my problems had been that of other ideas calling. I also decided that I would submit it once I had finished the book. I refused to accept excuses, and protected my time. Basically, I developed discipline and a discipline that worked for me.
When I finished, sent my manuscript out and received my first rejection, I did not quit. Not quitting is important. I became dedicated to achieving my goal. I started trying to make my writing better. I learnt to revise. I kept writing and more importantly kept finishing the manuscripts and sending them out. Submitting can become addictive. There is nothing quite like sending a manuscript out into the world, even now. My stomach always lurches with a combination of sick fear and excitement. Will my editor love my characters? Did I do my characters’ story justice? Will it be a great read?
Finally, I listened to my heart. This took about seven manuscripts. I started writing historical romance. I had tried contemporary romance to begin with, but my real love was history. I had the burning desire to write historical romance. It was another maybe some day goal, until a writing friend said – write what you want to write. Which line do you think you could write 40 books for? What are your ultimate dream stories? So I did some soul searching and decided to make my dream of writing historical romance a reality. I refused to listen to those wiser heads who said that no one would ever publish a Roman set novel, particularly not from an unpublished writer. I was going to make it work. And I knew that desire would not wane.
Eventually in the beginning of June 2005, I received the Call from Harlequin Mills & Boon. And I have just turned in the revisions to my 10th novel set in the Regency period. My books have appeared all around the world and in at least 8 different languages. In other words, my idle boasts of years gone by have become a reality. And it did not come from any place but within me. It took the four D’s and the one P. – Determination, discipline, dedication, desire and perseverance. And I firmly believe the 4 D’s and 1 P are what is needed for any want to be author (insert your own dream here) to succeed. It is my secret of success. Hopefully it will inspire someone else to finish that novel and try. It is the desire to write stories that shows you have talent. What you do with that talent is up to you…