By Nancy Provolt
“Are you published?”
A negative response to that three-word question has a way of causing non-writers, and sadly even a few writers, to roll their eyes, and cast me a look of pity as they pat me on my shoulder as if I am a kindergartener who has put the wrong end of a pencil into a sharpener. No, I am not yet published and yes, I am of sound mind.
Recently I had to have physical therapy. When my therapist found out I was a writer, he asked if I travel to the locations in which my books are set to do on-site research. When I responded that I don’t have those types of funds, but rather do most of my research on-line, he said, “Oh…well…I guess only a good writer does that.”
To put it lightly, writing is a humbling, getting-your-legs-waxed, face-planting-into-a-pile-of-cow-pooh, spending-a-week-on-a-secluded-island-with-only-your-mother-in-law profession. It is endless hours of interrupted sleep as you worry about whether or not to kill your main character, and countless days and nights of agony as you rewrite, rinse and repeat over and over only to be met with skepticism and rejection.
Attending the Pikes Peak Writers Conference was the first time I was treated like I could actually pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time without causing myself bodily harm. I was finally among my own race…an alien race, but my own kind none-the-less. I was encouraged, informed and beautifully taught. My occasionally defeated self came away feeling that if I hang onto the end of the rainbow, I will find the pot of gold at the end of my journey.
This is what I know and what was re-emphasized at conference: I love to write. I love to create characters and worlds and add in twists and turns until my head spins like an Oklahoma tornado. Putting all of that down on paper and completing a story that was conceived in my brain makes me a writer, published or not. And I also know this: “You have not failed until you quit trying.” (Gordon B. Hinckley) So “never, never, never give up.” (Winston Churchill). No matter how many potholes mar your pathway.