Mar 24, 2009

Hey, Universe...

by Valerie Ipson

It's one of those things you try to hide. You don't tell your spouse or your sister or best friend. Even when the topic turns to goals and dreams, you don't mention it. You barely admit it to yourself. Your writing group is usually the first to know.

But I was at the dentist with children last week and the lady behind the desk I'll call Sandy, because that's her name, asked if I was still writing. (She knows I write for the Beehive). I said yes, and then I blurted, "I'm writing a novel." Because she asked, I then told her what it was about. This has been happening with more and more frequency over the last several months, so, yes, I've pretty much outed myself. I've told the universe that I am writing a novel.

This all started at the writer's retreat last July, when Joan Sowards happened by my little computer table, noticed the first chapter of my manuscript and asked to read it. I didn't know what to say, but yes, so she did and that led to me actually allowing others to read it--members of my writing chapter and even Kerry Blair, who, for the record, gave positive feedback. I went on to even allow my husband to read the first few chapters and I caught my 15-year-old son reading it off the computer the other night when he should have been in bed. Now it has become a not-so-far-out-there proposition. Mom's writing a novel and she wants to publish it. It could happen.

I like how it feels to be doing something I've wanted to do for a very long time (my story idea first came to me in 1997--at least my earliest notes on it are from that time period) and that people seem to be fine with it and are even supportive. (Check the acknowlegements when my book is published, you'll all be mentioned!)

Anyway, it's very freeing to just let it out. You should try it. I daresay the universe is waiting to hear from you!


  1. Thanks Valerie. Way to go. It is very hard to let your innermost vulnerable ideas and writing out to the public. The growth of thick skin starts, as does the test of how much we believe in our ablility to write. What is your novel about, and will you share more at this July's writer's retreat?

  2. Hurrah for Valerie! Way to put it out there! I am cheering for you. I look forward to hearing more about your novel.

  3. I feel so special that I've known about it for so long. I miss coming to the meetings cause I don't know what new stuff you've written!! See you soon.

  4. You're right Valerie, shout it out to the Universe, who knows who may be listening. More importantly it will keep you firmly on terra firma when people start asking when's the next installment giggle.

  5. Yeah, I feel the same diffidence to my writing. But you've broken the ice. Keep on telling.

    Here's another reason to tell everybody. It didn't spring from my fertile mind, but from Pamela Goodfellow. She says whenever you can work it into the conversation, tell about your book. Whether it's to a friend or a stranger at the check-out counter doesn't matter. People usually respond with a touch of awe, and want to know what it's about. Tell them as much as you want. Then, if they show any more interest, offer to keep them updated on your work, and get their email address. Give them a business card if you have one, and take theirs if they offer.

    Why? A potential publisher is apt to be very impressed if you have a hundred - 500 - 1,000 addresses of potential buyers.

    Oh, and you take notes (after you leave them) about where you met and in what circumstances. Then you can email them personally.

    Does this sound sneaky? Of course. But nowadays authors have to sell their own books. Unless you take the world by storm like Stephanie Meyer, and perhaps even she had to do some of it before she caught the public eye.

  6. I know your feelings. I'm not published, but have been writing for many years. I have one manuscript almost ready for submission, but I have a number of other manuscripts started, and I can't decide which to move forward with!

    I guess what I need is a writing group or critique group. Do you know how a person goes about finding a writing group? What if my writing is of various genres - after all, I don't know which writing could be profitable.

    Anyway... any advice?

    - Chas

  7. I loved your post Valerie! As I started writing my novel - I didn't want anyone to know. Then my husband and son started telling people, I was mortified, scared to death and swore them to secrecy.

    But once the cat was outta the bag (thanks to them) I started to grow that thick skin and I realized people were gracious and actually impressed. It got easier, and now I've just finally realized.... I LOVE WRITING....for me! And I know my Heavenly Father wants me to do that's what matters. Other than that, I try to stay out of the results....and enjoy it!
    Good for you....Embrace the Universe!


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