Guest Blogger: Laurie Lucking
On the outside, my journey to publication looks relatively straightforward. My first manuscript, begun five and a half years ago, garnered many rejections until I decided to set it aside. But my second story, Common, was only rejected once or twice before finding a publishing home. I never had a contract fall through, or a big name in the industry tell me I couldn’t do it. My family and friends have always been supportive and encouraging. So I realize, and I’m extremely grateful, that compared with many authors my journey to publication has been fairly simple.
But it definitely hasn’t felt easy!
While I haven’t faced a lot of external obstacles to achieving my dream, the internal obstacles have been a force to be reckoned with. My own fears have threatened to drag me down on multiple occasions, and continue to be a struggle despite how far I’ve come.
Fear of Failure
Of course no one wants to fail when pursuing a goal, so I know fear of failure is something everyone deals with to some extent. But I’ve recently come to realize just how much fear of failure has shaped the decisions in my life. I was too short to be a natural at basketball, so I picked a different sport. Physics was a challenge, so I never took another physics class. My art projects didn’t look as good as everyone else’s, so I stopped trying.
When I started writing, at first there was no fear of failure. It was a hobby—a creative outlet while I spent long days at home with my newborn. Even when I first looked into publication, I didn’t see failure as a likely outcome. I’d always been an avid reader and done well with academic writing, so I assumed writing fiction would just come naturally to me. Go ahead, laugh all you want. I know better now!
It was when the rejections started coming in that I hit my crossroad. I did more research and began to face the harsh reality that most writers work for many years before they get published. And even after years of writing and learning and submitting, there’s no guarantee of acceptance from a publisher. Suddenly, writing looked like just the kind of difficult endeavor that made me want to turn tail and go pursue something else.
Fortunately, my love of books and passion for the stories in my head propelled me forward and wouldn’t let me quit. But every time a new challenge arises, I have to re-convince myself that this dream is worth risking the possibility of failure.
Fear of Exposure
My personality type is INFJ, and I’ve noticed a lot of descriptions about us mention that we feel things deeply and tend to only get close to a few people. At least in my experience, that’s accurate. I have many friends and acquaintances, but very few people in my life know me well enough to understand what really makes me tick. And I’m fine with that. I’ve always felt a bit “different,” so it’s easier for me to just show people the sides of myself I think they’d be comfortable with and keep the rest held in.
Part of the reason I got so swept into writing is that it was a place where I could express myself fully. I could pour my imagination, my heart, and the way I see the world onto the page with no fear of judgment. But now that same freedom of expression is what terrifies me about my book being published. My storylines and characters showcase aspects of myself that I’ve rarely shared with anyone, and now they’ll be available for anyone in the world to purchase, read, and then judge on public forums.
This fear of exposure reared its ugly head the first time I let someone read my manuscript, and it comes back whenever I send my work to critique partners or submit for a contest or publication. Now that I’ve signed a contract and my book is available for preorder, I’m doing my best to push those fears aside and keep some level of separation between myself and my stories. But I’m not sure it will be any easier the next time I try to convince myself to share something I’ve written!
I could go on and on about the struggles of rejection, comparison, and finding the time and energy to draft, edit, and polish an entire novel. But each new challenge draws me closer to God and to my community of fellow writers, and I know it will all be worth it when I finally get to hold my book in my hands and find readers who connect with my story!
What obstacles have you faced on your writing or personal journey? Can you relate to the fears that nearly held me back?
Common: Tales of the Mystics, Book One
Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair. And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia. But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason. Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.
Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of http://www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.