by Gabrielle Meyer, @MeyerGabrielle
Five years ago, I started to write my first novel. I’d been dreaming about this book for over ten years. I knew every scene, every detail, every plot twist, and every character—yet the book remained unwritten. I’d been telling people I was a writer for as long as I could remember—yet the book remained unwritten. I devoured Christian Fiction, and dreamed of the day I’d see my name on the cover of a book—yet the book remained unwritten.
I was busy, of course. I was a mom of four young children, I homeschooled, I helped my husband run our small business, and I volunteered for several organizations. Yet, none of those things filled my writer’s soul. I was busy, but something was still missing.
Then, one day I read a book that changed my life. No, it wasn’t a self-help book. It wasn’t even non-fiction. It was a beautiful historical romance, so poignant, I closed the book and wanted to weep for all the emotions stirring in my heart. It made me long to write the stories I’d always dreamed of writing, and it forced me to ask myself one of the most important questions of my life:
“Why aren’t you writing?”
A laundry list of reasons came to the surface of my mind, but the answer was simple:
I was scared.
Scared that I didn’t have what it takes to be a writer, that I wouldn’t be any good, and that even if I wrote a book, no one would publish it.I was using my busyness as an excuse to cover my fear. But if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that I don’t want to live life afraid.
So, I started to write, and write, and write, and write, and write.I read dozens of books about the craft of writing, I attended Susan May Warren’s Storycrafter’s Retreat, as well as her Deep Thinker’s Retreat, and I attended several ACFW Conferences.
And then I wrote some more.
In three years, I wrote four full length novels before my first novella was published with Barbour. What happened to those four novels? They’re still sitting on my hard drive, waiting patiently to be revised and published one day. But one of those stories caught the eye of an agent who offered representation, several of those stories finaled in writing contests, and all of them caught the eye of an editor at Barbour who invited me to submit an idea for a novella. But more importantly, each story taught me a very important lesson:
Maybe you’ve taken the plunge and you’ve started to write. Wonderful! I have some advice for you: keep going and don’t stay on this story forever. Finish it and then start another, and another, and another. The biggest mistakes I see from writers is that they work on the same story for years. Each story we write teaches us about our craft. One story might teach us how to write great dialogue, another might teach us how to delve deeper into characterization, and still another might teach us how to write a powerful spiritual arc. But if we stay on the same story, or worse, don’t start writing at all, we miss the opportunity to become a great writer. Our craft develops with practice, hours and hours of practice, and the only way to practice is to write.
Since 2012, I’ve written eight full length novels and six novellas. Of those fourteen stories, ten of them are published or are slated for publication. Had I given in to fear, and used my laundry list of excuses not to write, I would have missed out on one of the greatest adventure of my life.
Don’t let fear hold you back. Just write.
An Unexpected Partnership
After arriving in Minnesota Territory with her sisters to claim their late father’s hotel, Elizabeth Bell is shocked to learn her inheritance comes with a handsome co-owner. After too long working for a domineering boss, Elizabeth yearns to be in control—of the hotel and her life. But Jude Allen won’t sell his share, and Elizabeth refuses to leave.
Rescuing soiled doves and giving them hotel jobs is Jude’s way of redeeming his past. He’s counting on rough frontier life driving his new business partner away before she learns the scandalous truth and demands he stop his mission. But he may have underestimated Elizabeth…and the power of love to turn a complication into a bright new beginning.
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. To learn more, find her on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, her website at www.gabriellemeyer.com, and don’t forget to sign up for her Newsletter.