Once upon a time there was a young woman named Leah who wanted to be a novelist. From her earliest memories she made up stories--some of which were to the dismay of parents and teachers, and sometimes her classmates. She even wrote true stories in such a way as to make them sound fictionalized and grab the attention of her reader.
When Leah was 29, she got serious and sat down with notepad and pen and began her first real novel. To her surprise, the words fell into place. Even when she was seated in the living room with family all around, she found she was able to concentrate on her inner thoughts. In three months, the story was finished and she purchased a word processor to type it into a readable novel. In one year she completed four novel-length manuscripts and purchased a copy of Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide to find out where to send her stories.
While Leah continued to write, she marketed what she'd already had written, attended writing courses, began meeting with other writers and discovered she could also make a decent income writing magazine articles. Life continued for her. She had some rough patches when she wasn't sure how she could go on but she did. She had some good times when her articles sold and she was able to hold those published articles in her hand, with her byline beneath the titles. Life was good, and life was bad, and years rolled on and Leah continued to write her novels, market them, learn her craft and make friends in the writing world.
Fourteen years later, after more experiences of ups and downs in her life than Leah had ever dreamed anyone could endure, she sold a novel. She had written thirteen novels, was working on the fourteenth, when someone took a second look at her work and saw quality there. They saw depth of experience and a wisdom that came through years of living life. One publisher after another began to pick up Leah's work and consider it for publication. One reader after another learned about Leah, and word spread.
Leah wasn't an overnight success. She continued to write and sell and see her share of contest awards and ugly reviews. She saw some good sales and some disappointing ones, and she kept on writing through it all.
And the moral of that story, my friends, is that if you want to become a successful novelist, you sit down and start writing and you don't stop. You live life and keep writing. You study the craft and study other crafters, and you keep pushing forward.
Now that I think about it, isn't that the way you do anything you really dream of doing? If you want to be a movie producer, you don't just walk into a movie studio one day and sit down at a producer's desk, you do the work, learn the skills, study other masters of the trade. If you have a dream, you follow that dream and live it for the rest of your life. And that is success.
Labels: short story, time is on your side