If anyone tells you it’s easy to sit down and write a novel feel free to start laughing and call him or her a big fat liar. Inspiration might be easy, finding great story lines might be easy, thinking up fifteen ways to end each chapter might be easy, but writing the whole damn thing is no flipping walk in the park.
I have now written and published fourteen books and eleven of those babies are novels. If you could see the bags under my eyes, the weight around my middle, the stress lines that only I consider sexy, my bank balance and the dirty wine glasses in my sink you would know the truth.
It’s really hard work but I wouldn’t trade any of those books for a great retirement plan, a gold watch from a boss I never did like, a commute that wore out six cars, or wondering what my life would have been like if I hadn’t taken the well-traveled road.
I took the hidden path through the thick woods fighting my way through the literary tangle of submissions, agents, publishers, crappy reviews, great reviews, no shows at book events, standing room only venues, ambushes from people I thought were honest, lots of personal mistakes, sleepless nights, the loss of everything more than once, hours of self-doubt, and always, always always the realization that if I didn’t write I might die.
My business and life partner and I co-own a lovely wine bar in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida called The Wine Madonna where we pair my books with wine, hold literary events, and where I constantly fend off hordes of men and women who say, “I want to write a book.” I’m a very nice person, just ask me, and while I am smiling and composing myself before I answer, on the inside I am screaming, “DO YOU REALIZE HOW HARD IT IS TO WRITE A BOOK?” I never bother addressing the perils of publishing what you write but after my pause I always smile and say something sort of encouraging.
I’m big on following dreams. Seriously, life is pretty damn short and if someone has always thought about writing a book I say go for it. There’s desire but then there’s also the reality of actually doing it. I once tried painting with watercolors and quickly realized I should stick to hanging out with my words but at least I tried. So try I say but prepare yourself for the long, hard road ahead.
There’s a kind of seduction that occurs, I think, when the world sees an author who makes it big, maybe after a first try or just one submission. It might look easy, or there’s a bit of money involved, maybe a movie deal or something else that we equate with literary success and for some people that’s very appealing. Well, of course it is but the most important thing is to have the heart of a writer.
I am lucky enough to have known my entire life, from the time I can even remember, which seems to be getting harder each day, that I was going to be a writer. I once had a very brief detour when a gaggle of bad teachers told me I would never amount to anything and insisted I become an occupational therapist instead, which is what I have become in many ways. My words are what I use instead of the therapist’s tools. I know my books have changed lives and when I have one of those days when I want to put wine instead of almond milk in my smoothie my readers are truly the ones who slap me back where I belong.
My inspiration comes from them; their emails, cards and the emotional and sacred moments when they share personal stories about what they think my books did for them. I tell them my words are really little shoves in the right direction and it’s up to them to take the first steps and then hopefully end up running to wherever it is they want to go.
I am now at the point in my career when I can look back a bit and wonder how in the hell I did it. I worked full-time, was a single mother, had an agent steal my money, sat in a daze as the publishing world crumbled around my feet, sold everything twice, started over again and again, but always kept writing.
There was always risk involved in what I did. Having the courage to write down what is inside of your heart and then share it with someone else is a pretty big deal. It’s also pretty brave to know that once you release your words into the universe you are also agreeing to stand naked in front of anyone who wants to look at what you have done and comment on it. Reviews can be horrid and cruel things but the feel of the wind in your hair when you are unclothed is worth it.
In the end, none of the above matters. Sacrifice, time, failure, success, what roads I could have taken…none of it matters to me. What matters is how my heart surges when I sit here like this, when a new story forms while I am walking through that dark forest on my own damn trail and I can’t wait to write again, how I cry like a baby every time I see my name on a book cover and how I feel lucky because I somehow had the courage to listen to my own heart and soul and slip into the woods all by myself.
Find out more about Kris Radish on her website http://www.krisradish.com/
About A DANGEROUS WOMAN FROM NOWHERE
Briar Logan is a loner who has already survived a wretched childhood, near starvation, and the harsh western frontier in the 1860s. Just when she is on the brink of finally opening her heart to the possibilities of happiness, the love of her life is kidnapped by lawless gold miners―and she steels herself for what could be the greatest loss of her life.
Desperate to save her husband and the solitary life they have carved out of the wilderness, Briar is forced to accept the help of a damaged young man and a notorious female horse trainer. Facing whiskey runners, gold thieves, unpredictable elements, and men who will stop at nothing to get what they want, the unlikely trio must forge an uncommon bond in order to survive. Full of lessons of love, letting go, and the real meaning of family, A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere is a timeless western adventure story about courage, change, risk, and learning how to unlock damaged hearts and live in the sweet moments of now.
Category: On Writing