What Following Your Writing Dream Looks Like


In my early forties, I began noticing an almost supernatural glow on the faces of certain friends when they talked about a new project or work they felt passionate about. Work where their gifts and the needs of the world were aligned.

Truth be told, I envied them—I wanted to glow too.

I had left a toxic work environment as a corporate lawyer in my late twenties, and between birthing and raising two sons I'd been searching for the right fit career path.

After my kids left for college, I finally found that path.

I put a stake in the ground and claimed my call as a writer. I set aside time to write. Went to writers conferences. Joined a writing group. Hired a book coach—and later trained to become one myself.

I finished one manuscript and started another.

And in the process, my life changed, in more ways than one.

Nearly a decade after saying "I am a writer"—something I had known my whole life but had been afraid to say out loud—I was offered a publication contract for THE ONLY WAY THROUGH IS OUT, my midlife coming out memoir.

Note: GRAVEYARD OF SAFE CHOICES was the previous title of the same book.

Can you see me glowing in the video?

These hallelujah moments don't happen in a vacuum. Sometimes they are years—even decades—in the making.

I've moved a file box overflowing with notes/outlines/ideas/more Chapter Ones than I can count at least five times—from big house to smaller house to east coast house to bayside cottage to limbo storage locker to new life condo.

But all those years of starting and stopping and wrestling with my story paid off when I emailed my query letter to a university press on March 3rd and received a reply within a couple hours!!!!

Since then, the editors:

  1. Reviewed my proposal (April).
  2. Reviewed my manuscript (May).
  3. Sent the manuscript to peer reviewers (June).
  4. Received the peer review reports and asked for my response (early September).
  5. Presented the project to their marketing team and press committee for final approval (mid September).
  6. Sent me an email with the subject line "Results!" (September 16).
  7. Negotiated a publication contract with me (September 21).

We're ironing out a few details & I hope to sign on the dotted line in the next week or two!

This was my second pass at querying this manuscript. I'd queried agents a year earlier and didn't receive any positive responses. Mostly silence and some polite formulaic "no thank yous."

I reluctantly went back to the drawing board and completed a major revision. Revised my query and proposal too.

It was a lot of work—and I'm so glad I did it. 

Not just because I HAVE A BOOK DEAL NOW!

But because it's a much better book than it was a year ago.

And it will be an even better book once I hand in the final draft to the editors by the end of the year.

Because, yes, I have one more revision ahead of me based on the very helpful feedback from the peer reviewers. 

And how do I feel about that?

I feel alive and excited! I've become the person with an (almost) supernatural glow! 


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