Today we welcome Pat Nichols to my blog. Pat is a new author and her book is releasing early next year. Pat is sharing a bit of her journey with us here today.
As far back as I can remember, I was a night owl. Seven was my ideal wake-up time. When I retired the magic hour moved up to nine. It didn’t make sense to rise before the sun. Then four years ago I dove into the wonderful, whacky world of writing. Now my characters have me popping out of bed at five-thirty, ready to continue their voyage and discover what they’ll do next. And I love it.
During phase one of my writing journey I was a total pantser, relying on desire, and thanks to my corporate experience, discipline. After discovering my first manuscript overflowed with every novice mistake times ten, I turned to Sherri Stewart. A dear friend, editor, and published author, she helped me launch phase two—learn the craft.
While beginning a second manuscript, I combed the internet to read everything I could find about writing and attended a Christian writer’s conference.A critical review from Eva Marie Everson demonstrated I’d made progress, but still had a long way to go.Armed with new knowledge, I enrolled in Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild, read blogs, joined national ACFW, and became active in the north Georgia chapter with an amazing group of published and pre-published writers. Equally important, I wrote five, sometimes six days a week.
In the summer of 2016 I attended an ACFW conference. I arrived at the Nashville venue and learned I’d been scheduled for three sessions with publishers and editors and had the opportunity to sign up for a fourth. What’s crazy is during my corporate career I was interviewed on live television and radio programs and spoke to large audiences, with no more than a moment of apprehension. Yet the opportunity to pitch my work triggered angst and bombarded my mind with questions. Were my elevator pitches compelling? What if I couldn’t remember them? Had I missed errors on the pages I’d printed? What if no one liked my synopsis?
Thankfully, the professionals were gracious and encouraging. I survived all four rejections and walked away with another discipline to learn—platform building. As it turned out, the conference was a fruitful experience. Dozens of talented writers shared their knowledge through workshops and one-on-one conversations.
I joined Word Weavers, submitted chapters to contests, and enrolled in more online courses. Now, four years later phase three has begun—a year-long road to publication. I am blessed to have a contract with Guiding Light, a women’s fiction line for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Although a title and cover aren’t yet finalized, my debut novel—manuscript number three—is scheduled for release January 10, 2019.
Whether you have chosen to begin your journey during the spring, summer, or autumn of your life, savor every moment.Push your ego aside and seek feedback from contest judges, critique groups, and mentors.Study the craft, apply what you learn, and study some more. Connect with other writers and read their work. Establish a writing schedule and stick to it.And above all else, trust God to lead you and strengthen your talent.
The road to publication is long and full of bumps and unexpected curves. Yet, for aspiring, pre-published authors who stay the course, itis a journey well worth taking.
Pat Nichols is a retired corporate executive who launched career number two as a writer and editor. She isproving it is never too late to pursue a dream. Her debut novel is scheduled for release January 10, 2019.She is an active member of ACFW, Word Weavers, Christian Pen, and Gwinnett Church (a campus of Northpoint Ministries). She lives in an Atlanta suburb with her husband, Tim, is the mother of two and grandmother of three.