An author recently asked me to share my secret. How, she asked, did I find a publisher for my first novel, MURDER STRIKES A POSE, only four months after completing it? Since I’m a yoga teacher who writes yoga-related mysteries, she assumed I had used some voodoo-like yoga practice to manifest success.
I’m afraid I disappointed her.
Yoga does help my writing. Practicing asana allows me to type for hours in spite of back and shoulder injuries. Meditation clarifies my mind and unleashes my creativity. Yoga philosophy encourages me to persevere, regardless of the outcome. But nothing in yoga is magic, and my road to publication was far from quick. Getting my three-book deal involved a multi-year journey of doubt, procrastination, perseverance—and a lot of help from my friends.
I never intended to become an author. I admired the self-discipline of my writer friends, but investing years of time and energy into a project that was likely to fail seemed, well, crazy.
Enter Kate Davidson, my protagonist.
Kate is a lot like me: well-meaning and kind, but also opinionated and stubborn. She popped into my head one day, firmly took root, and insisted that I tell her story.
I tried for over three years.
The measly 900 words I typed during those frustrating thirty-six months were so bad that I finally deleted them, certain that I was a writing failure. If it weren’t for the constant encouragement of my students and friends, I certainly would have given up. I told everyone I knew about the story, secretly hoping they’d hate the idea. At least then I’d have an excuse to stop obsessing about it.
Finally, someone suggested that I attend a local writer’s conference. While there, I took seminars on writing and networked with other neophyte authors. I emerged from that experience with enthusiasm, energy, and a wealth of new knowledge. Just three weeks later, I did what I hadn’t been able to do in three years: I finished the first draft of my novel, MURDER STRIKES A POSE.
The next thirty-some-odd drafts took significantly longer. 😉
By the time I finished the manuscript just before last Thanksgiving, I had several agents interested in reading it. Four months later, I signed with my publisher, Midnight Ink.
The moral of my story?
Don’t give up on your dreams. Persevere, even when you think it’s pointless. Never underestimate the power of positive feedback. Hang out with others who share your passions.
Above all else, tell people about your story. They might just convince you to write it!
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available January 8, 2014 from Midnight Ink!