Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Never give up, never surrender!

By Bunny Miner

Before I get on with my 'real' post, I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself.  I'm Bunny Miner and I'm a children's book author.  I've just had my first picture book manuscript accepted and I'm now stepping way outside my comfort zone and trying my hand at a mid-grade fantasy.  I've been writing forever but seriously for about 10 years now.  I took a bit of a break (about six years!) when my father got sick and I just got back to writing about two years ago.  I've been married to my best friend for 23 years and we have four awesome kids.  Two of my kids are in college and two are still at home.  Until about three days ago I was an elementary school librarian and now I'm working on obtaining my substitute certificate because I never want to stray too far from the schools.  I always want to be around kids so I don't have to grow up too much (not to mention that's my audience!)  I'll be blogging for ANWA Founder and Friends every other Wednesday so stay tuned or tune out depending on how you like my style.

Ok, if you're still awake let's get on with this!  Have you ever felt like giving up on your writing?  Took a step back, re-read your stuff with a less subjective eye and thought, 'this is crap'?  Or how about this old classic 'I'm too old to write'?  I submit that if you've been in this writing game for any significant amount of time, you've probably said one or all of these things to yourself at some point.  To that I say, it's all crap!  Don't believe any of it! Writing takes time, commitment and persistence.  You can 'Never give up, never surrender!'

In the beginning of my post I told you that I just had my first picture book manuscript accepted.  That literally happened just yesterday!  I've wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember.  I actually chose my profession based on my desire to write.  I became a teacher so I could have my summers free to write.  Pretty ballsy, huh?  I had no guarantee this day would ever come.  I had a teacher who believed in my in middle school then just sheer ignorance and hope after that point.

At first I wrote in secret.  Nobody knew I was a writer.  Why would I tell people?  Then they might want to read something.  What if they didn't like it?  Did that mean they didn't like me?  My tender ego couldn't take that.  After doing that for awhile, though, my characters were crying to be heard.  They could only talk in my head for so long before they got lonely I guess.  So, slowly I started to show my stuff to people and guess what?  They liked it.  Or at least they said they did!  They were my family and friends so they were kind of obligated to be nice but it gave me courage.  So I wrote more and showed more people.  It was addictive!  Then I thought well so much of what I read is garbage so I'm sure I could get published no problem.  And that is where the fairy tale ended.

I started submitting things to magazines and book publishers and couldn't get past the form rejections.  Looking back at that early stuff, it was a joke.  I'm actually embarrassed by most of it and can't believe that I littered the slush pile with it.  To the poor junior editors who had to read it, I apologize! 

After enough of those form rejections to wallpaper a small room, I got a little smarter and joined a writing group and started to, of all things, read about writing!  I'm a little slow sometimes but I finally 'got it'.  I started to work on my craft and even started to have a little success.  I wrote book reviews online and had authors actually send me their books to review.  I submitted some samples of my writing to a local paper and started writing some human interest pieces for them.  With each piece I learned a little more but then it occurred to me that I really would rather lie for a living so I began writing fiction again.  As a busy mother of four and the primary care giver for my disabled father I didn't have the time to do both so I stopped doing the writing that I got paid for and started doing the writing I enjoyed.

Again, I got a bunch of form rejections but then I started to get personal rejections!  As any writer knows, there's a big difference between the two.  One of my happiest days as a writer was when I got my first personal rejection.  I knew I wasn't delusional at that point.  I really could write!  Unfortunately I couldn't get any editor to believe enough in me to take the leap and publish me for about two more years.  I persisted, though!  Finally I got that letter that all writers dream about.  Someone wanted to publish my words.  I was shocked and elated and overwhelmed all at once but I did it.  I became a published author (well, an almost published author!).  Ironically, last week I thought about giving up.  I'm glad I didn't.  So to you I say, 'Never give up, never surrender!' Your turn could be just around the corner.

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