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In mid-October, I got what every aspiring writer I know dreams about —  an offer! After many, many years of toil and turmoil, trial and tribulation, rewrites and rejections–someone had fallen in love with my book and wanted to publish it. The contracts were signed the week before Christmas and the real work begins next week. My first novel, THE WELL OF TEARS, (47North, Amazon Publishing) is tentatively set for publication this spring. The sequel, which has yet to be written, will follow in the fall. I am beside myself with joy, and terror.

As I sat down at my desk this first morning of the New Year, it occurred to me what a singular time this is. More than that, I realized that I have been given the biggest opportunity I have ever asked for. Then it struck me that with this awesome opportunity also comes awesome obligation–obligation to those who have supported me, to those who fought for me, to those who are giving me this chance, and obligation to myself to make the most of my dream. Oh, and lest we forget–the contractual obligation. I have six months to write a 350 page sequel, while simultaneously finalizing and implementing a marketing plan for the first release. Be careful what you ask for, fellow writers–you just might get it!

I tell you though, I am every bit overjoyed as I am horrified. I have been waiting YEARS for this experience and frankly, I can’t wait. This remarkable opportunity was not what I had exvisioned, but it has turned out to be the right and best opportunity for me. Truly, I am amazed at how this has all come together–and I ask myself, how did I get here? How does any writer get here?

Well, not without a lot of hard work, that’s for sure.  Nor without sacrifice and struggle. There are certain common traits all published writers share — devotion to craft, willingness to learn and grow, creative obsession, unyielding faith in the journey, and unshakable determination.  Yet, even all of that is not enough. There must also be a bit of magic in the mix, and champions along the way. I did not achieve this all on my own.

Which brings me to an important side note of my blog post this morning–relationships. The marketing term is networking, but for me that term doesn’t really encompass the complexity of the concept, nor does it acknowledge the personal aspect of professional comraderie. I know that I would not be holding this publishing contract in my hand today if it weren’t for the others who shared my dream. Next week, we will discuss professional courtesy in publishing and how to go about building relationships that will help build your career. Don’t miss it!

Today, however, is all about fresh starts, inspriation, and new beginnings. I have decided to share an article I posted more than a year ago–when I had come to the conclusion that my work would never sell. Instead of succumbing to the soul-deep disappointment I felt, I decided to reach for hope and find a way to move forward. For any of you who are still searching for that first opportunity (and for those of you who are just looking for a little encouragement), please read here:

Eat, Pray, Write

I hope you all resolve to keep writing in 2012. Dreams can and do come true, but not without commitment–HUGE commitment. My friend, author/instructor/publishing industry professional Alice Orr  offers the very best writing advice I’ve ever heard:  persist until you prevail!  Sounds simple, I know, and easier said than done. But Alice is right, people–I’m living proof :).

So, Happy New Year, fellow scribes. May 2012 reward you with the success your hard work deserves. In the meantime, however, put your butt in the chair and write!!