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Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett

Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard


My new bookmarks arrived yesterday.  One one side is the hands on keyboardpink banner that you see above. On the other side is the cover of Family Interrupted with some information about it. Ordering bookmarks is not new for me. I designed and had them printed for almost every book I’ve written. Their arrival at the house was always exciting. But it’s been three years since my last book was released, and the FedEx package that came yesterday contained more than my latest bookmark.

It contained proof. Proof that I’m still a working writer. Proof that I’m back in the game. Sure, it’s now a digital world, and I wonder how to distribute bookmarks to readers buying on their Kindle or Nook. But that question didn’t matter as I opened the carton. My hands shook a little as I stroked the top layer of polished pink 2 x 7 cardboards with reverence. And then I smiled. Widely. Yes. Writing is what I do.

There are easier ways to earn a living.  I know that. I’ve gone through periods of doubt many times, especially in the beginning, and learned that a writing career is not for sissies. It’s not for the faint of heart. I don’t say that lightly. I don’t say that to show off or to scare those pursuing a writing career. The truth is that to succeed in this profession, not only must you produce a good story, but you must be a special kind of stubborn. Not the stubbornness of those “who will not see,”  but rather the kind requiring belief in yourself and your stories.

Most important, that belief must reside in the very core of who you are. If creating stories is part of the air you breathe, if you talk to characters in your sleep, then you have the soul of a writer. The road to publication and beyond, however, is filled with potholes. Along the way, you will trip. And you’ll have to pick yourself up and begin again. And again.Stubbornness comes in handy.

There are easier way to earn a living. Teaching high school subjects to homeless adults for seven years was easier. I loved it. I gave 110% of myself to that position. But at day’s end, I jumped into my personal life, into my second career.  Writing. When I worked a day job from Monday to Friday, I put in fourteen hour weekend days at the computer as well as a couple of hours at night during the week.

A thick skin comes in handy. Remember those potholes? Whether you submit your work to agents, traditional publishers or to an editor you’ve hired independently, be prepared for rejection. Be prepared for the brush off:  “Thank you for submitted your work.  Good luck elsewhere.”

Or be prepared for a ten page, single spaced critique that might turn your story inside out, upside down and backward. The timeline is wrong, backstory too heavy, and the pacing’s too slow. The main character is unsympathetic. Her motivation’s not clear, and no one will care about her. You’ll think that the editor knows nothing! Until you reread your manuscript through the editor’s eyes and realize she’s got a point or two. Or three.

There are easier ways to earn a living. But my bookmarks are here, and I am one stubborn gal.

How about you? What struggles have you had on your writing journey? Let’s talk among ourselves.

WE HAVE A WINNER:  Louise B has won the April contest. Congratulations, Louise!

NEW DRAWING!!  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the May drawing for a free copy of Family Interrupted or your choice of book from my printed backlist. Bookmarks included with either one!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you next time for another edition of Starting Over.



2 thoughts on “Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

  1. Hi Linda – I’m visiting from the RWA class. I’ve not published a book yet, but I’m working on it. Life keeps interrupting, and I keep digging in and keeping at it. I’ve had some short story success, but I’m aiming for my name on the spine of a book. 🙂 Congrats to you for getting there, for not giving up, and for taking the time to encourage those of us still reaching for it.

  2. Hi Lisa – thanks for stopping by. Some people call a writing career a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to learn and use all the elements of craft. Your successes at short stories are wonderfully encouraging. So take it little by little and you’ll get there. Life gets in the way, but it’s important to have a life, too 🙂 Good luck in your efforts.

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