“I’m a writer.”
by Debra Chappell
The first time I uttered those words was on a plane trip home from New York City recently after meeting with my new agent and editor. It was in response to a fellow passenger asking the reason for my trip, “business or pleasure?” I replied business. Of course, he then followed with the obligatory, “…and what do you do?” I have to admit, I paused. I hesitated slightly longer than normal. I’d never said the words out loud – up until that moment, I hadn’t dared even think them.
I recently read (on another writer’s blog no less) that you are a writer when you say you’re one… I have to disagree. I guess I just don’t have that kind of faith in my own ability. My view is that you’re a writer when someone else says you are. Call me shallow, but I need the validation – and that, to me at least, is what getting published is all about. I think I’m not alone in this. What other reason would have so many aspiring writers losing sleep over manuscript drafts – constructing and re-constructing paragraphs, adding comma’s, deleting same, editing, polishing, composing query letters, story outlines and the dreaded 3-page synopsis, then sending it all off to hundreds of literary agents and publishers only to wait several weeks and sometimes months for a glimmer of encouragement – a meager request for sample chapters perhaps, or the standard “thank you for your submission BUT…” or even a constructively worded rejection letter that is considered progress when compared to the explicit brutality of the last one – any kind of a response for god’s sake, just to know their work made it out of the slush pile and was noticed by someone, anyone in this effing (stands for fickle) industry!! Not that I would know first hand of course, I’m just saying…
Up until this point in my life, I’ve always considered myself a person who likes to write, when it suits me, and usually for fun. I’m the wannabe journalist who overthrew a career-that-never-was for the more lucrative one in real estate. (Ha! Who’s laughing now?) I never considered myself a writer. I dabble. I create the witty little limericks that entertain the sales staff at weekly office meetings. Admittedly, I can write a clever party invitation and on occasion, I’ve even been known to fire off a blistering letter to the editor when I’ve had one too many double-shot lattes, the urge is great, and I don’t give a rats-a** about the repercussions in my Bunko group the following month. (Thankfully, this only happens every four years and usually coincides with election cycles.) But that was then, a lot has changed.
One afternoon while sitting in my office, a little kernel of a story idea percolated to the surface while I was killing time between a cancelled listing appointment and the final phone call of the day notifying me that the falling escrow I’d been trying desperately to save had finally landed squarely on top of the trash heap for good. Suffice it to say, I found the pursuit of that little kernel a helluva lot more entertaining than my day job. To make a long story short (or in this case, the subject of a blog,) much to my astonishment, I now have a New York literary agent, a professional editor, and am on the road to being published. It’s a long journey according to my agent (I love saying that, the novelty still hasn’t worn off, which is kinda weird since I was one myself for almost twenty years, though in a different industry.) She says I have some work to do, okay, a lot of work to do. But at least I have my very small foot in this very big door – and I’m not about to let it slam shut now! So, if you’re up for the ride (or in need of a little creative avoidance from the rigors of your day-timer) you can follow my journey bumps and all, as it unfolds and in real time. I’m sharing it with you in hopes that it will entertain, encourage, and hopefully inspire you to pursue … ah hell, who am I kidding! I’m thrilled to bits about the whole venture and just want to share it with anyone who will listen. Besides, it’s good practice and a great way to inform my terrifically supportive family and friends who call and ask “so…what’s going on with your book anyway?”
I did enjoy reading your blog. Your book will be great. Peggy
What an amazing journey; and you’ve only just begun! I am excited to follow your adventure through the world of publishing. And congrats on sending out your blog to the internet world. Taking on a challenge is part of healthy growth, says Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project and she assures us that seeking growth is a core part of our happiness!
Congratulations…what fun for all of us to share in this!
My best friend Katie directed me here and I’m so glad she did! Wow! What an inspiring story! Congrats to you–I’m really looking forward to following your blog and reading this novel and I don’t even know what it’s about yet! I got goosebumps when you talked about actually saying the words “I am a writer” to a stranger. It really hit home with me. I’ve recently started to make a go of selling jewelry that I make–something I’ve been thinking about doing for years but always put off. Though I was nervous about doing it, I had the title “artist” printed under my name on my business cards for the shop. When I actually got my first order and I was able to send out that card along with something that I had made and someone else wanted, I felt completely validated and pretty giddy actually. I realized “I am an artist” and that felt really good.
Can’t wait to read more!
Good luck can’t wait to read more!
good for you. I envy the fact that you are pursuing something that
you are so passionate about. Jan
I look forward to reading more!
really enjoyed the first ‘blog,’ congrats on a very entertaining start Deb, what an exciting venture, you have so many talents and this one is going to come out from behaind the bush so to speak…love Sue
I’m on board for the ride with you! You sound so enthusiastic-your passion for writing explodes in your blog and I look forward to checking in at the end of my day with my glass of wine. Maybe some chocolate too.
I just wanted to tell you I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life! So excited to hear all the details and look forward to hearing about the journey of becoming the writer you already are! suzanne
your enthusiasm is infectious, Deb – looking forward to sharing your progress =)
Way to go Debbie…you are an inspiration for sure! I had no idea how much is involved in writing a novel. Good luck on your journey……VAL
Hey Deb, It’s been quite a ride from Agate Drive. Many souls here on earth are so proud of you as I know there are some very special souls in Heaven that are beaming!!! Where do you think all this sunshine is coming from? I am looking forward to riding on the back seat of this journey. love – steph
Hip, Hip, hooray! this will be such fun to be a interloper into your journey and vicariously enjoy your success, dear Friend! Not surprised , though, as I’ve seen you tackle many an atypical job/issue and come up shining! God’s Speed, and count me in, Im crew or entourage, fan club, you name it! Also my first ever participation in a bloodspot! Will miracles never cease?! LB
Enjoyed your new blog, I’ll be following it!
Well I have to say Debbie, I’m not surprised at all. I have always been entertained and impressed with your clever wording and ability to tell a story. I can’t wait to hear where this journey takes you and I will be pulling for you every step of the way. I think the whole thing is “effing” amazing and I mean that just like It’s usually meant. Not everyone has the guts to chase their dreams. I’m truly impressed!
Can’t wait to read the book – great read!
blog looks great, enjoyed the read! Am looking forward to more!
Love the new blog — I’m hooked!