Hi, I’m Linda Hull, and I used to refer to myself as the most successful unsuccessful writer around. Fact is, until very recently, I was enjoying (in what can only be considered a masochistic way) an illustrious career in almost getting published.
Since this is my maiden InkSpot post and I figure there are a few of you out there who know the pain of which I speak, I thought I’d share a few highlights from all that time spent chasing both the muse and that even more elusive beast known as the book deal:
Years in Front of the Computer: Ten.
Hours in Front of the Computer: I’m hopeless at math, but a whole, whole, whole lot.
Hours at Critique Group: See above.
Completed Manuscripts: 3 1/2.
Revisions to Completed Manuscripts: See Hours in front of the Computer.
Agents-Literary: 3 (The third time was the charm—I’m talking you, Josh Getzler!)
Agents-Film: 1 (until said agent wrote a manuscript, sold it for major bucks and retired from agenting.)
Offers of Representation: 5 (Not counting that one agent who wanted a fee and another I met at a conference who read ten pages of a WIP, asked me to send everything I’d ever written, then neglected to ever call me back.)
Editor Rejections: Enough to paper the one wall in my office not already covered with the rejections by agents not so swayed by my literary charm.
Highlights of Editorial Rejections: “We gave Ms. Hull’s manuscript, in fact both of her manuscripts, a great deal of consideration around here but ultimately decided to go in a different direction.”
“I liked this novel. I really, really liked it—engaging fast-paced, funny but…”
“The prose is cinematic, witty and a quick fun read. Unfortunately…”
Number of Times I Quit Writing: My keyboard doesn’t seem to have an infinity sign.
Planned Alternate Career: Stripper at a nursing home.
Number of Times My Husband Talked Me Out of Planned Alternate Career and Reassured Me the Writing Would Someday Pay Off: See Number of Times I Quit Writing.
Luckily for the folks in the Denver area nursing homes, I got the proverbial call this past September. (Actually, it was way cooler than a call and happened ten years and a day after my first writer’s conference, but I’ll get to that, likely in an upcoming post.) Suffice it to say, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Teri Bischoff, Midnight Ink, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and my dear friend Ben LeRoy who co-authored the idea I developed into Eternally 21, the first book in a series featuring Mrs. Frugalicious, who trolls the malls for savings until she’s accused of shoplifting and suspected of murder.
For me, now the real work begins. For those of you stuck in the purgatory of almost, don’t quit. Or, do quit, but only long enough to drink off that last horrible form rejection or evisceration by your critique group and do the revisions necessary to make it happen.
It can and does happen.