Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Can you put a price tag on your writing?

I don’t usually get on my soap box—but I cannot hold my tongue. Or in this case, cannot keep my fingers from skating across the keyboard. I am going to address one of my pet peeves--those who do not appreciate the gift of writing. I have three short stories published by The Wild Rose Press which is now White Rose Publishing. After taking countless classes in creative writing, both at local colleges and online, attending workshops and conferences and putting in far longer than the average eight hour day, I fancied myself the next Nora Roberts. I sent out query letters and partial manuscripts to literary agents all over the state of New York, certain they’d be ringing my phone off the hook. No such luck. Those phone calls never came, but one rejection letter after the next filled my mailbox to the hilt. Devastated, my heart wept. Totally disillusioned, I was ready to throw my dream of writing out the window. But then I wised up and realized the only way to get what I wanted was to fight for it with all I was made of. And that’s when things changed.

When I want something, I develop a competitive edge. And perhaps that’s what it took to push me so hard. After pulling my head out of the clouds, I developed a stiff upper lip and some mighty tough skin. And you know what they say…when the going gets tough…the tough get going. So I buckled down and enrolled in as many writing classes as I could find, polishing my manuscript to the best of my ability. And after getting feedback on it from my critique group, I felt ready to pitch it to a New York agent at a writers conference.

Nervous but confident, I presented my ten minute pitch, feeling certain I’d be asked to submit the entire manuscript. Once more, my dreams were shattered. The agent handed me back my business card…and I sure didn’t need him to show me the door.

Feeling sorry for myself, I was once again thinking perhaps writing just wasn’t meant to be. But then someone sat beside me at Starbucks while I was drinking a cup of coffee. I was so upset I wound up pouring my heart out to this woman who I had never met before. She handed me her business card and told me to submit my manuscript to The Wild Rose Press. That woman was Liana Laverentz. And that’s how I got my foot in the door with The Wild Rose Press. Through God’s intercession, when one door closed…another door opened.

The editors are wonderful to work with and the authors are willing to go the extra mile to lend a helping hand. Lori Graham is my editor and the feedback she gives me makes my writing shine. And when I got my first contract one year ago, it was like hitting the lottery for a million bucks. It had nothing to do with money. It was the feeling of accomplishment after striving for it for so long. No one understands a writer like another writer. There is no comparison to those words, “I’d like to offer you a contract.”

So you might be asking yourself where this is going. After my first contract, Lori offered me two more contracts shortly thereafter. Nicola designed my beautiful book covers and Rae Monet designed a killer website for me. I have had three releases this year along with a free read, all in the White Rose line. And my heart swelled with pride. So when someone made the derogatory comment, “I’m sorry you didn’t get a good price for your books,” my heart dropped.

Certainly we don’t get the money the big publishing houses pay, but what we do get is a whole lot more. We have editors who give us the chance to resubmit our work by giving very beneficial feedback, a caring staff, some of the best artists and awesome authors. And we all connect to support, promote, and be there for one another through thick and thin. The bigger publishing houses more than likely wouldn’t have such a rapport. I am proud to be a member of the garden and very proud to write for White Rose Publishing.

writing is a gift, a God-given talent meant to be shared. And I’m proud of my talent and hope to leave my footprint on the world when I’m gone. The emotional rewards far outweigh the monetary. And I know I speak for all writers. Writing is in my blood. If I didn’t get paid a penny, I’d still write in my journal or my blog. I write for emotional healing and to help make this world a better place.

As you know, before the loss of my vision, my passion was painting. Blending colors into a rich palette of crimson, peach and indigo into a desert sunset filled me with peace and tranquility. When I lost my sight, I was devastated for the obvious reasons, but mostly, because I could no longer paint. But after a long and winding road, a new dream resurrected when I discovered I could paint just as vividly with words. I never want to forget the simple beauty of a rose or the exotic beauty of a wildflower. And describing what I used to see and paint in such vivid detail is my way of remembering. Can you put a price tag on that?

26 comments:

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon,
Well said. I agree with every word you wrote. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" like you (and you have heaps more to overcome than me), that is my motto, too. I think you are a legend anyway, a real gutsy lady.
Regards
Margaret

Christine M said...

Very well put. An artist who doesn't bring in the big bucks for their work is not admired any less - they are admired for the quality of their art, not the money. Writing is the same way; just because someone isn't getting rich from it, doesn't mean it isn't worth so much more.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks for the support, Margaret. I can't imagine a writer out there who wouldn't agree. We have to write because creativity is in our blood and it stirs the creative muse in our hearts and soul. We are blessed by the nine muses and this is a gift. Thanks for popping by!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thank you Christine. You are so right. We've all heard of the starving artist and it doesn't stop them from painting all the better. We are the same way. I say I paint my pictures with words but we all do. There is no price for the price of pride and even one letter from a fan.

Marianne Evans said...

Beautifully stated, Sharon. You put a beautiful voice to the feelings of so many writers ---

God bless!!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Sharon, you are truly an inspiration. Good for you not giving up on the dream!

Christine Clemetson said...

Sharon.

What a wonderful post...it was so inspirational..Thanks for sharing it.

Christine

Ann Whitaker said...

Sharon,

Edgar Allan Poe received $10 for his poem "The Raven."

If everything we ever did in life was centered around making money, the world would be a lesser place.

You've already had to give up one love--your painting. Don't even think about giving up on writing as long as you have the ability and the motivation.

Money and art don't always go hand in hand.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks so much Marianne. These words echo my heart...just as they do all writers. We are a gifted and talented bunch and I'm proud to be labeled a writer...

Sharon Donovan said...

Thank you Stacey. I have to write. Until I draw my last breath, it will be a part of me...

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks Christine. Writing heals me emotionally and is a lot cheaper than terapy!

Sharon Donovan said...

Well put Ann. No way will I give up writing. And what an interesting bit of trivia on Edgar Allan Poe. And his poem has gone into literary history. Just shows what we already know. Writers leave their mark on the pages of a certain time and place. Thanks for your comment.

Tricia Jones said...

What a lovely, inspirational post! Yes, it's certainly important to take stock from time to time and remind ourselves of the real reason we write. Your love of writing shone through this whole post, Sharon.

Best wishes to you.
Tricia

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thank you for a beautiful, inspirational post, Sharon. Writing is a labor of love for me too. If it was all about the money I'd have quit a long time ago.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks Tricia. How true to take stock. To think a year ago I didn't even know how to blog. Blogging's a wonderful way of bearing our souls and sharing our writing woes. And the comments only enrich the writing. If I didn't write...I wouldn't feel alive.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Elaine. When you say writing is a labor of love, it takes me back to my first writing class. The teacher said that it always makes her laugh when people think of the writer as a glamorous profession, off in the islands writing in the sand while the waves roll into shore. Those words just magically appear on the page, right? She said if they could see her at the end of the day, how many times she shoved her hands through her hair, felt like pulling out her hair, etc., they wouldn't fancy it so glamorous. Labor of love indeed. Thanks, Elaine.

liana laverentz said...

Hi, Sharon,

I'm glad you hung in there and that God put me in your path that day. You've done amazing things since then and all on your own. I was no more than a butterfly who stopped at your table for a moment :) See you in a few weeks!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Liana. But butterflies have wings...just like angels. And you were my guardian angel that day, leading me to a garden of beautiful roses. Thank you for being there in my hour of need.

Bess McBride said...

A lovely blog, Sharon, and very inspiring!

Bess McBride

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks for dropping by, Bess. Inspiration is the key word and the key that opens all doors.

Sandra Kay said...

Sharon, very well said. You are an amazing woman. Don't let anyone steal your spirit. They just don't get it!

xoxo
Sandra

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks Sandra. We are a spirited bunch of writers who understand the blood, sweat and tears...and the joy of getting that contract...

P.L. Parker said...

I loved this! Writing got me through a really difficult time in my life. Had I not had my writing, I don't think I could have stood the heartache.

Patsy
P. L. Parker

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy. Thanks for adding your comment. Writing heals us in so many ways--for many of us--going back to when we kept our first diary where we told all our secrets. A part of that legend lives on in our novels.

Julie Robinson said...

Wow! I have goosebumps, Sharon. I do believe God sent Liana to you that day. What an incredible and heartening story. I have that saying "When God closes a door, He always opens a window" in my kitchen window.

Congratulations on Lasting Love being Pick of the Month! And for your inspirational story coming out on June 16 in the Chicken Soup book. How exciting! I am so happy for you. I'll have to look for your story when it comes out in June.

Julie

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks Julie. And I love that one about the window in your kitchen. An open window of opportunity in a world where we can reach for the stars! I hope you catch lots of sunbeams and rainbows.
Sharon