Thursday, November 19, 2009
The Pulpwood Queen Declares NEVER, EVER, NEVER GIVE UP!
The Pulpwood Queens Speaks Out On Rejection!
I could be the poster child for rejection! I was the last kid picked during my elementary days for the softball team at school. I always came in dead last in the mile run we had to do for this President’s fitness plan in the sixth grade. I never made Homecoming candidate, let alone Homecoming Queen. I was not selected as cheerleader for cheerleading tryouts during my senior year. I did not even place in the Miss Eureka, Kansas pageant back in my hometown. But something in me, (I like to think GOD), told me that I had a talent for something and I should try everything at least once. I might fail but I think everybody should get big ole brownie points for at least trying.
So when I decided, I mean really decided to become a writer, I selected children’s books. I wrote seven in all and never even made it to getting an agent. I was a Children’s Bookstore Manager/Buyer at the time and strongly felt that I could write a better book for children than some of those that were being shopped to me from my book publisher’s reps.
I was wrong.
But I kept writing, I’ve written since I was a little girl. First, emulating Laura Ingalls Wilder as I too, in fact, had grown up on the prairie, the Flint Hills of southeast Kansas. I received my first Smith Corona typewriter that fifth grade Christmas and I taught myself to type with the typing book that came with it. I spent countless hours typing away about my life in the little house on Elm Street. But my dog wouldn’t die and I did not have to traverse swollen rivers to move. We literally carried boxes across the street and down the alley when we moved to our new home on Main Street.
I had discovered the downtown Eureka Public Library by then and Nancy Drew. I could write like Nancy Drew, if I only had red hair and a convertible AND a really cool dad who never lost his cool no matter how Nancy put herself in danger. Did I miss her really hot and attentive boyfriend too! I discovered boys around that time, secretively. The typewriter went into the case and I only drug it out for typing essays or later on term papers. Years passed……
In 2000 I opened the first hair salon/bookstore in the country, Beauty and the Book. All of a sudden, the press was contacting me. A combination hair salon, bookstore, this was newsworthy!
Then Oprah’s Oxygen network, then Good Morning America…. Then I got the call that would change everything. A southern publisher called me and ASKED ME if I would be interested in writing the story of Beauty and the Book, perhaps the story of my first year. Would I ever?
I always thought I would write as an adult the next “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I have been (secretively), working on that novel for years. A non-fiction memoir, well I never!
Then I got a call from my now literary agent asking if she could represent me? Me, the last kid picked in kickball, never the lead for the school play, but always cast as one of “dancers”!
I have to laugh now looking at the popularity of "Dancing with the Stars", but I digress!
After years of working on this book that would become “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life” that was published NOT by a small southern publisher but a BIG NEW YORK publishing house, Grand Central Publishing. I debuted as a writer. I was an author, a published one. Hold please, I always faint on this statement…..
For those reading this, that was after I wrote, I think, about 30 revisions and six years. Don’t let me mislead you, the ONLY way a writer can do something that is really worthwhile is to work you little tail off. Yes, good fortune did fall in my lap but only after years and years of hard labor, blood, sweat, and tears. Did I mention also six years from start to publication?
Now in these dire publishing times, I can not sit, (on my throne as the Pulpwood Queen or), on my laurels though meager they may be. I am back hard at work writing my second book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Guide to Reading and Writing for a Higher Purpose”!
The life lesson in this writer’s life story?
Never, ever, never give up. Keep working on your craft. Take every writing course you can and write. Write every day.
I still cannot believe I published a book. I put authors so far up on pedestals that they are to me in the same realm as the Gods and Goddesses of my junior high Greek mythology days in Mrs. Perrier’s literature class. What have I learned? I have learned that life is not just about a dream. Dreams are wonderful but dreams cannot come true unless you roll up your sleeves and go to work. Work makes life worth living and then makes your accomplishments have worth.
When my agent told me that my first book should be called, “The Pulpwood Queens Guide to Life”, I spit my coffee I was drinking all across my computer. Who me? I still have to pinch myself to believe that I wrote a real published book. I did and you can too but you will have to write and work for it.
One of my favorite stories is about Mr. Milton who invented the ant farms of my youth. He lived to be really old and became really successful. When asked about how he had accomplished so much success in his life he told the interviewer. “Success in life comes from perseverance. You never, ever, never give up and you will eventually succeed”. I paraphrased that story so may not be the exact words but you get my drift. Never, ever, never give up. You may not become a published author but the story you write or stories you write could be a library of your life to your friends and family. I just happen to believe that everybody has a story and now it is up to you to work on writing it the best you can to share with others.
I give thanks this Thanksgiving for God giving me the gumption to never give up. I have a whole bunch of other things to be thankful for too like all my relationships with the others. And isn’t that what writing is all about, a relationship with the reader. Think about that this Thanksgiving and also I give thanks to laptops. Because I can’t for the life of me understand now a single cursive word I have written and I thank God for Santa bringing me that typewriter that particular Christmas.
Love, the little “writer” that could,
Kathy L. Patrick
Author of “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life”, Grand Central Publishing
Founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Books Clubs
P.S. Please comment and also check out the biggest author event I have coming up for our 10th Anniversary, it’s called Girlfriend Weekend Author Extravaganza on my www.beautyandthebook.com website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the last working program, January 13 – 17, 2010!
P.P.S. The never, ever, never give up I know is incorrect English but as I the Pulpwood Queen, I live to break the rules, so that line stays.