Following My Dream

Writing a book is easy. Writing a good book is more difficult. Unless you’re somebody famous (or infamous), getting even a good book published is a great deal more challenging. My dear friend, Terri, posted on my Facebook wall today that The Help was rejected sixty times before author Kathryn Stockett found a publisher.

Two years ago, just the idea of writing a book overwhelmed me. Then, thanks to encouragement and support from a lot of people, I penned my memoir. I definitely hope to see Glass Houses in bookstores one day. But if it never gets published, the fact that I wrote it will always rank among the proudest accomplishments of my life.

To learn more about how to get my memoir published, back in March I joined the Athens Writer’s Workshop.  The talent, sincere desire to help neophytes like myself, and the earnestness of the other members has kept me coming back. Slowly but surely, they are teaching me the art of crafting a good book.

A member of the group with several titles on the market encouraged me to read Stephen King’s On Writing. I did, and in the process, was transformed.  King wrote about crafting fiction in a way that made sense to me. As soon as I finished reading his book, I started writing Addicted.

Now Addicted is maybe two-thirds the way done. The group has critiqued half of what I’ve written and provided constructive feedback that has mostly been extremely helpful. Some of the feedback, however–especially lately, didn’t register with me. Frankly, I didn’t understand what they were talking about.

Another published member of the group suggested I read Jessica Page Morrell’s book, Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us. She goes into much more detail than King did about the difference between a book that will get published and one that won’t. Talk about eye opening! Now I understand what the group has been telling me and have a much better understanding of the problems with both Glass Houses and Addicted.

Rather than discouraged, I’m inspired. A professional editor is reviewing Glass Houses now. I’m sure she’ll have lots of suggestions, but even if she doesn’t, like I said before, I’m happy just having written it.

Strangely enough, I’m equally happy about Addicted. Each new chapter I write is better than the one before. Through the process of trying to write my first novel, I’ve learned things that wouldn’t have been possible any other way.  I’m committed to finishing it, and once I have, will decide what to do with it.

The next book on my reading list is Writing the Breakout Novel. There’s even a workbook that goes with it that I plan to use to help me start writing book number three.  People tell me Addicted is better than Glass Houses. I’m sure my third book will be even better. I’ll keep you posted, right here on…

My Glass House

3 responses to “Following My Dream”

  1. Very Proud of you Michael, it is a personal achievement, and falls under how you can not love anyone else until you love yourself. Well you can not put out that Best seller until you feel comfortable and at home being a writer and not a novice at it. I have no doubt that someday I will be proudly telling people that I went to HS with with him and consider him a friend. Keep on Keepin ON. Hope to see you Oct., not sure I will be going to the reunion but will be in town.

  2. Thanks Janet! Hope to see you at the reunion–I haven’t decided if I’m going to Keeneland or not. It’s a whirlwind trip and being as famous as I am (hahahahaha), there are lots of people I need to see.

  3. Very inspiring post! I’m adding the books you mentioned to my list of ‘must-reads’. Not sure I’ll ever get my first one completed, so I may as well try to learn about perfecting the art in the process. Love your attitude and determination. Can’t wait to celebate when your work is published!!!