The Art of Keeping On

Having a dream is hard.

My dream to become a published author has proved to be the more difficult than I could have ever imagined. My journey began five years ago when I started this blog. I was na├»ve when I began writing my first novel, but I learned quickly that finding an agent and getting published may not be in the cards for my first book. I submitted it to maybe fifteen agents and chose to let it go. So I wrote another. I didn't query it because I wasn't happy with it. I then decided I'd go back to school and major in English/Literature and make every effort to learn how to write well and verse myself in the classics. I graduated and thought about graduate school, to make myself more employable, but I felt like I wasn't giving writing a good go if I didn't at least try again before becoming lost in a new career/program.

So I've devoted the past year and a half to writing. I haven't tried to find a job or committed to another study program. Instead, I wrote my third novel and thought it would be the one. It still may be (fingers crossed). It's out there in the query world now. I've since wrote another novel and am currently on my fifth.

If someone would have told me five years ago I would go on to write five unpublished novels and still be seeking representation, I would have probably chose to devote myself to a more realistic goal.

I'm glad no one told me.

Even with all the uncertainty, I wouldn't change a thing. No matter what other career path I chose, I'd always be a writer.

There are a couple of things I've learned along the way that help me keep the negativity in check.

  1. There is always and will always be someone more talented and better than me. And that's okay.
  2. Just because I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't mean it's not there. Who knows when I'll turn a corner and find the reality of my dream staring back at me! (Just thinking about it makes me smile.)
  3. It only takes one yes to change my entire life.
  4. Writing brings me joy. Feeling down? Write!
  5. I am my worst critic. It's never as bad as it seems to me.
  6. Though I am a writer, writing is not the center of my life.
  7. A beach trip cures most things.
  8. A good book cures everything.
  9. Hard work will always lead to success.
  10. Never underestimate the possibility of a new work-in-progress.
I won't give up. Mainly because I can't. I refuse to let go of the hope that someday I may hold an actual copy of one of my books. I can hardly imagine it.

For now, my hope tree is in full blossom.

SNIP SNIP REVENGE by Medeia Sharif

SNIP, SNIP REVENGE by Medeia Sharif
YA Contemporary, Evernight Teen
Release Date April 25, 2014

Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald. 

With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.

Author Bio
I’m a Kurdish-American author who was born in New York City, and I presently call Miami my home. I received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, I found my niche writing for young people. Today I'm a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, I'm a middle school English teacher. My memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.

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Doing the Write Thing

I've been struggling lately with sticking to a schedule. I know all dreams are achieved by setting specific goals and deadlines and by creating an intentional plan to conquer tasks. Though I know this and it sounds simple enough, I cannot seem to make a schedule work.

I read a great article on Huffington Post yesterday about how women writers face a significant number of challenges in finding writing time each day. We have to fit our creativity in between house work and familial responsibilities. We are the wearer of many hats, and this often keeps us from devoting time to our dreams.

January and February of this year was going well. I was writing every day and even finished a MS in record time (six weeks!), but when March came around, my mind desperately needed a break. And boy did I take one! I didn't do anything but journal work and blog posts. I had good intentions for April, though. I joined CampNaNoWriMo and have written a grand total of thirty pages thus far. I will say that I have done quite a bit of research for the WIP, so I'm not completely slacking.

I'm just frustrated! I love my WIP, but the creative juices are not being cooperative. I feel the urge to write when I'm in the middle of making dinner, folding laundry, or mowing the lawn. Sometimes when I finally do make myself sit down and write, I end up staring at the screen for minutes at a time. There are one thousand and one things I need to be doing at any given moment, and it's hard to block everything else out and concentrate. Distraction is the root of all evil!

When I don't write, I feel guilty. And when I don't get the house clean, lawn mowed, or spend time with my husband, I feel guilty too. So what's the answer? I've got to relinquish some of the pressure and try a different approach.
  • From now on, I'm going to write whenever I can. I'm usually not happy unless I've written 2,000 words per sitting. That's simply unrealistic for me, at this point. I've got to learn to be happy with however many words I write per day, even if it's only 50. That's better than none, right?
  • I'm going to set a timer on my writing. I've found I work better under restraints, so I think this may help.
  • I'm going to schedule time to let my mind decompress. Maybe I'll watch some television or do some pleasure reading.
  • I will limit my time on social media and reading articles. If I'm not careful, I know I can spend an obscene amount of time on the computer without getting anything done.
  • I will not feel guilty. Okay, I know I probably still will, but I'm going to try not to. I really am doing all I can do.
Hopefully, trying this new approach will help me get back into some type of routine. Have you found any tricks that help you stay on schedule?