We live in an an age where the appearance of extroverted confidence is highly rewarded, while introverted complications are too often treated like blemishes—something to paint over with social makeup. And yet it's almost always the hidden internal battles that fuel art, regardless of how conscious the artist is of the interior life. Whenever I have gotten to know a writer personally, eventually the mask drops and confessions begin. Some of my best and most cherished friendships have begun this way.
While it is very difficult to surf the huge emotional waves of the professional writing life and survive the inevitable crashes, it is often even more difficult to watch a loved one paddle out into monstrous professional-grade sets.
For the past ten years, Alicia has quietly been publishing beautiful poetry and writing novels. She has submitted her work to agents several times and has weathered many many rejections, as all writers do. It is extremely hard to spend years working on a project that ultimately gets shelved. For non-creative types, imagine the psychological strain of going to work every single day—putting in full weeks, months, even decades—and never getting paid.
The best part of my dark period—by far—was cheering on Alicia as she found her niche, an agent, and a publisher for her new wonderfully fun and OBX-set cozy mystery series. It's already been highly praised by several New York Times bestselling authors.
If you've been dreaming of maybe someday publishing a novel, take notes here.
Alicia tried out many genres and various styles. But one day we were talking and came to this conclusion: Alicia loves reading cozy mysteries. Alicia has read so many of them. Why doesn't Alicia write a cozy?
Then Alicia began devouring as many cozy mysteries as possible, studying the genre with a gleeful ferocity. She became a student of the craft. 24/7. Full-time for years.
When she next put pen to paper, she wasn't writing from the standpoint of ego. Instead, she humbly began to serve the story, asking what needed to be done to acquire an agent, then an editor, so that she could ultimately deliver to cozy mystery readers exactly what they want. She edited her draft of Smile Beach Murder FOR YEARS!
This woman has worked. HARD.
Much great writing is born out of submission.