Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Diary of a Writer: Sweet Caroline and Helping Others

My plate is full. I'm starting a new novel. Editing a My Book Therapy book. Reading a play for a friend. I love this because I know the play will be produced. I'm not an expert on plays but I know something about story.

Also, judging a contest, mentoring a friend who finaled in a contest, and reading a couple of synopsis for writer friends.

It's not a burden though it keeps me busy. Even a bit distracted but I love helping others. Truly, I've been so blessed it's a bit hard to say "No" to those requesting help.

Why do I say "Yes?" Because I remember what it was like when my heart burned to write. Burned to be published. Burned to have input from someone who knew what was what. I was desperate for a helping hand and leg up.

And the Lord sent people to me. I am forever grateful to Him. To them. So I love giving back.

Yet, I'm eager to get planning and writing this next book. Rattling thoughts are loud.

But I don't know the ending of this book yet and it's hindering my beginning and protagonist identity.

It'll come to me. It always does. God is so very faithful to supply the job He's called me to do.

Repackaged cover
 When I was writing Sweet Caroline I hit the skids. I'd gotten the publisher's catalog in the mail and saw the advertising for my new book, Diva Nashvegas.

While that was exciting, the stats on the first Nashvegas book, Lost In Nashvegas socked me in the gut.

My heart palpitated as I read the comparative units sold. Surely it was a misprint. Or, you know, numbers from the first few months.

I was discouraged. A bit embarrassed. This book was supposed to knock chick lit on it's ear as the first "redneck" chick book. Instead, I was knocked on my ear.

At that point, I felt I'd failed everyone. My publisher, my editor, my agent, myself. I was terrified to call anyone to talk about it because I thought I'd hear the cold truth. "You're not good enough."

I'd been struggling with Sweet Caroline, finding the right tone, finding a deeper layer to my voice, all the while knowing as I wrote a chick lit the genre was on it's way out. So the catalog news only added fuel to my self imposed fire.
First Cover. Won a Carol Award with this one

Deadline approached. Another author read what I had so far. Days away from submitting the book to my editor, the author wrote saying, "You need more tension. Perhaps another story line?"

Blow to the gut. But, I took it to heart and sat my butt in the chair for 15 hours on a Saturday writing and rewriting. Went to bed late, woke up at 3:00 a.m. to write before church.

Yet there was no way I was going to weave in a good sub plot. What a mess.

I went to church. Walked around like a zombie. So discouraged. So tired. My writing career was over. My editor would discover what she was bound to suspect after the low Nashvegas sales. "Rachel is a hack."

Original cover idea
I sought prayer from anyone who would listen that Sunday morning. I needed a miracle. Like, you know, God downloading a new book to me overnight. I'd wake up with it written and edited beside my bed.

Hey, anything is possible. Especially to the desperate.

Several praying friends exhorted and encouraged me that morning. I determined to go home, plant my butt in the chair, clean up what I had, and submit the best book possible on Thursday.

So tired, I could barely think. God did not download a new, grand, better book to me.

Instead, He sent me a friend. I called Susan May Warren and saw the first of two miracles....

(to be continued)


The Elizabeth W said...

I got one of those Crossings membership catalogs in the mail yesterday and flipped through it. I was so excited to see The Wedding Dress in there! (Which by the way, I loved!)
I'll be home in a couple months and I can't wait to see you. I'll be in touch about that :-)

Rachel Hauck said...

Can't wait to see you, Elizabeth! So cool to know The Wedding Dress was in Crossings!!


PatriciaW said...

Love reading about how writers go to where they are. Those of us coming behind often forget that our favorite authors were once where we are--struggling with doubt, worrying that we're "hacks" with no chance of publication, wondering why we ever started on this journey.

Rachel, you know you've left "hack" way behind (and you probably never were one). Love your voice and your stories. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel Hauck said...

Oh my dear Pat, you made my morning! Thank you friend. But writers always struggle. We just have to keep leaning into the Lord and gaining confidence!!

Love to you!


Amanda G. Stevens said...

THANK YOU for such a transparent post. I think you're right, and all authors feel like hacks at some point or another--or just periodically throughout our entire lives. ;) But it's encouraging to us "pre-published" folk that you very successfully published folk have these feelings, too. :)

Sarah said...

I love your honesty about your writing experience.

I remember when I found Diva Nashvegas (I read this one first) at a bookstore. I picked it up, read the back and thought, someone has finally written a book combining all of my favorite things--Nashville, country music, love, Christianity! I know I'm just one person, but that book was what introduced me to rest of your work. Still so glad today that I picked it up that day!

Rachel Hauck said...

Sarah, that's so cool to hear! Though I've heard the opposite too: "I don't like country music." LOL.

Well, it's a story, about a person, who has a fun career and falls in love. "You don't have to listen to country music to read the book."

Too fun. Thanks for stopping by.


Rachel Hauck said...

Amanda, we do have those feelings of insecurity and inadequacy but the Lord leads us out of them if we allow Him.

He specifically confronted me on it a few months ago. I had to stop declaring "I stink" over myself. It was a good wake up call.

It's so much more peaceful to trust the Lord!