Writer Wednesday Welcomes Patti Larsen!

Today, I am so excited. I’ve been waiting for w-e-e-ks to share my new friend with you all, though I’m sure many of you know her from her awesome twitter feed, blog and book(s)!

Welcome, Patti Larsen, one of my favorite tweeters and fabulous, lovely, delightful writer extraordinaire! Today she’s blogging for Musings on a topic close to all our hearts. Thank you Patti!

Journey of a Thousand Stumbles

When I volunteered to write this post for Julie Ann, I was excited.  She wanted me to explain my journey, how I made it to the culmination point of selling a book (insert a choir of angels singing Halleluiah!).  Easy-peasy! Right?

Hmmm… then I started thinking about my path and how I got here.  I often snicker at the label “over night success” and what it really means.  Not that it applies to me (yet!).  Still, the actual road to the success is often skipped over in favor of the exciting climax.  So, I thought I’d explore a bit of why I’m here, what got me to this place.  Maybe it will be of some help to someone who is on the same journey–or perhaps it is simply catharsis.

Writing is a calling.  I don’t think anyone who feels that pull doubts what I’m saying.  Non-writers who haven’t done it and say they’ve always wanted to have no idea.  You can’t say no to it.  It’s impossible to want to be and not be, at least in some capacity.  Without too much personal detail, I’ve gone from committed to dabbling so many times I can’t count.  My experience is punctuated by journalism, screenwriting and so much more.  I’ve given up over and over because of fear (other people’s that I accepted as my own) only to be drawn back and be re-immersed by this undeniable drive to create something.

I’ve gone through three abortive attempts to get an agent in which I knew nothing of the process and made an utter fool of myself, driving my writing passion into the ground.  I spent fifteen years in a job I was very good at but was sucked my soul dry just because I was afraid to take the leap.  I smothered my creativity in an attempt to shut it up, using food and lies and anger.

But nothing worked.  The core of the need remained.  That is how I found myself, two years ago, writing my first novel in a decade.  And loving every minute of it.  I’m not sure what is different.  I know my journey has led me to deeper understanding.  This time, the determination is focused.  I’m comprehending the process, not just of writing, but of getting my work out into the world.  I know I’m a good writer.  I know I have a talent for stringing words together in a way that people like to read.  That was never a doubt for me (at least, this time around).  But the big change I think is getting the game.  Doing the research.  Developing the platform.  Nurturing relationships with other writers.  The picture finally came into focus.

This is what I’m meant to be doing now.  Time to stop beating myself up for what could have been and acknowledge that the path was on purpose, that my experience made me a better writer, a better storyteller.  My old life taught me to be a businesswoman as well as a creator.  To have confidence in my ability to handle my career.  To see there is way more to being a writer than just putting words on a page.  I wasn’t ready then.  I am now.

I think my biggest success has been the choice not to give up on myself ever again.  Yes, I still get rejected.  But those rejections are a blessing.  A way for me to tweak my message until I get a yes.  To show me where I’m still learning and growing so I can focus on that.  I’ve discovered so much about my writing in the last year, even.  Things I do repeatedly that need to change.  Ways to tweak my work, to edit for more professionalism.  I also came to the understanding that there is more than one path.  Self-publishing while seeking an agent and courting small presses is a great deal of work, but worth it.  Treating my writing like a business as well as the passion it is has given me the edge I needed.

When I submitted The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House to Terrilee Bulger at Acorn Press in September of this year, it was with the same positive attitude that I send out all my work.  No matter the outcome, I knew I gave my best and if that press wasn’t interested, I’d find another.  Much to my joy, however, it was a perfect fit.  And while it was an amazing thing, I didn’t run off with it.  I let myself experience the joy of it, then moved on.  Business is business.  Does it make the accomplishment any less?  Of course not.  But it does feed the flames and the desire for more.

Am I stopping here? No way.  There is so much more to explore.  No laurel resting.  More books to write and market.  An agent to wrangle.  The Big Six to court.  My plan is, after all, total world literary domination.

Why strive for anything less?

Patti Larsen is a novelist with a passion for paranormal, sci-fi and fantasy YA and middle grade fiction.  She is an independent filmmaker, singer/songwriter and inventor as well as an improv actor, a roller derby enthusiast (aka BoomBoom Bandita) and the creator of the Get Your Book Done writing program.  She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband Scott and four massive cats.  Her self-published novel Cat City is available through Smashwords and www.lulu.comThe Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House (Acorn Press) is due for publication in the spring of 2012.

You can find her at http://.pattilarsen.blogspot.com, follow her on Twitter as @PattiLarsen or join her fanpage on Facebook: http://facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor

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