I’m thrilled to welcome this month’s guest to A Writer’s Life: the fabulous Rachel Dylan! I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel in person at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference a couple of years ago, right before she debuted her Atlanta Justice series. Today she’s here talking about an important but underappreciated part of being a writer–marking the milestones along with way. If you’re a to-do-list-checker-offer like me, you might be tempted to let these important moments pass by without note, but as Rachel says, it’s important to find the joy in each step!
And if you’re a suspense fan, don’t forget to check out her newest book, Breach of Trust, releasing tomorrow!
Finding Joy Along the Way
Many times when I talk to other writers, they are in a state of stress. Yes, we’ve all been there! Writing is not easy, and the road to becoming a published author is often filled with many obstacles. But today I wanted to share with you a bit about embracing the writing journey and trying to find joy throughout each step or phase of your writing career.
Let’s say you are brave enough to open that laptop and write a manuscript. Now what? I’m here to tell you that even more important than the ultimate goal (whatever that goal may be for you), please take a moment to find joy in each step of the writing journey. Here are just a few milestones along the way that I hope you will treasure even if they might not all seem positive at face value.
- Finishing the first manuscript. It’s a huge accomplishment to actually write a book. Most people’s first manuscript will never actually be published (mine certainly wasn’t), but the fact that you wrote it is something to be proud of.
- Entering your first writing contest. This is a big step because you’re opening yourself up to the opinion of strangers. It can be quite daunting—even scary. But being able to hear and accept feedback is critical to maturing in your writing career.
- Attending writing conferences. This is a fun one. I remember my first writing conference. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s a large conference. But now years later, I embrace being able to go to these conferences and see people that I only usually get to see once a year. I truly call some of these other authors my dearest friends. The friendships and connections you form being a part of the writing community is priceless.
- Querying/pitching agents and editors. This is also a big step. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t get a publishing contract or an agent from your first pitch. Take each meeting as an opportunity to learn and grow as a writer and meet industry professionals. You never know how that connection will play out in the future.
- Rejections! Yes, I said it. The career of an author is filled with rejections. So many rejections! But through those rejections, you become stronger. Rejection is just part of being an author, so the sooner you learn to face the rejections and move on, the better.
- First book publication! This is a biggie, and you should celebrate it. For some people (although few) it happens quickly. For others it takes years, even decades to get published. Wherever you end up on that spectrum, take a moment and savor the feeling of having published your first novel!
- The dreaded one star review: Every published author has gotten one (or quite a few). Take it as a badge of honor and move on. There are more exciting things on the horizon. Don’t take it personally.
Most of all, don’t lose the joy in writing and telling the story that God has laid on your heart.
Rachel Dylan writes legal thrillers and legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. She enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, an FHL Reader’s Choice Award winner, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, and a Holt Medallion Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids–two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at www.racheldylan.com.