Some twenty-four years ago, when I first ventured out to blend in with other writers because I had written a book and some of my first work was being published in weekly newspapers, I never dreamed how today would be. My friend Dusty and I started together in this search. We attended our first conferences the same year, joined our first writing groups the same year. And today we wind up at some of the same get-togethers. We’ve gone our separate ways in many respects. He’s a well-know, Spur award winning western writer, I tend more toward historical nonfiction and some fiction as well, and there aren’t any spurs in my background.
This week we’ve been trying to arrange a get together in Red River, New Mexico that we can both attend in October, but we’re having a hard time because of so many other commitments. I said to him, “Did you ever dream it would be this way, back then when we first started?”
Both of us had our dreams, of course, but never could have imagined what has happened. He’s had some 87 books published in the western genre. I’m way behind him on books, but tend to write a lot of articles and newspaper columns, etc. I’ve only managed to get 10 books published, but for 18 years have written a weekly historical column for newspapers. Recently I began a monthly column for a publication much like a newspaper, Life In The Ozarks.
In October we have the Ozark Creative Writers Conference the first weekend, he has stuff the second weekend, I have Women Writing the West in San Antonio the last weekend, and we’re trying to fit Red River in there somewhere.
My message to writers struggling to get published, relish every moment of what you’re doing. When you finish that first book, when you get that first rejection, when you land an assignment or sell a first article, the first time your name is mentioned in public somewhere. I remember when I attended my first Romantic Times Conference after I signed a contract with Topaz, I heard people mentioning my name in every room I entered. It amazed me because I thought they bought so many books, who would pay attention to one more? But they do and they talk about you and your work. It’s mind-bending.
But enjoy it all, even the let-downs, because everything becomes a part of your memories of your writing career.