Casey here: I hope you've had the chance to meet Gabrielle Meyer at least once. And if you haven't be sure and it put her on your "people to meet list" the next time you attend ACFW (or whichever conference you both might be attending). I think she's awesome. Gorgeous. Talented. Smart. Gifted. She is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency after all. ;-) Anyway, I'm excited to share her post with you today. Be sure and leave a comment below to enter to win MaryLu Tyndall's The Red Siren. :-)
I’m about to embark on a perilous journey. It will be the third time I’ve gone on this trip, and each time I set out I feel the same mixture of apprehension and excitement.
I have a map, and I know what my final destination is, but I have no idea what adventures will meet me along the way. I’m sure I’ll encounter memorable characters, I’ll be swept away by a great romance, and I’ll feel a plethora of emotions—but this journey will undoubtedly be unlike any of the others I’ve taken.
The last time I traveled this way I learned a great many things. I learned there were some shortcuts, but often the best course wasn’t the easiest one. There were bumps, a few road blocks, some detours, and of course, I had to stop often to ask for directions, but I eventually made it to the end.
This will be my third quest to write a brilliant novel, a story that will brim with tension, romance, and redemption. A tale that will make my agent gasp in unbelief, cause an editor to jump up from his desk and run to his pub board, and grip my readers well into the wee hours of the morn.
It’s a dangerous calling, but someone must do it.
Sometimes I shake my head when I think about this daunting journey. As a historical romance writer, I used to think the journey should be perfectly magical. My first novel was written after ten years of contemplation, plotting, and research. I worked on it occasionally while having babies. But when I finally became serious, and planned to take it to ACFW, it took me about eight weeks to write.
The story poured off my fingertips and onto the screen *almost* effortlessly. It was well received at ACFW and it landed me my lovely agent.
Magical, right?After finishing that first journey, I thought writing each new novel would be just the same.
When I embarked on writing book two, it was not the same journey. I had the final destination in mind, but the road I took was much—much—different.
For weeks I stared at the computer and agonized over the story. Why wasn’t it “pouring” forth like my last one? Why did the road twist and turn without mercy? And where did these steep hills come from?
This journey was much harder than the last.
My husband had to point out the obvious. I had contemplated my first story for ten years before I actually wrote it. But my second story had only been in my head for three weeks before I started pounding away on the keys. I was discovering my story as I went along.
In the dawning light of understanding, I came to realize every book writing experience is going to be different. I will never take the same path twice. I might learn more skills, develop my voice, and deepen my characters, but I won’t ever stop learning how to write a good story.
Every journey will be filled with its own peril—and its own magic. I should never compare one to the other, because each experience will stretch me and challenge me in ways I couldn’t comprehend when I begin—but that’s what makes the journey worth taking.
As I set out on writing book three, I’m just as apprehensive and excited as usual, but I’m thankful I have more experience. It has made me, and my writing, much stronger as I face the journey ahead.
What about you? Has each book taken you on a different journey? What was one of the hardest lessons you learned along the way? What was one of the best lessons you learned?
Gabrielle Meyer lives in Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children, including three year old twin boys. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society for ten years, and the Morrison County Historical Society for two years, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by actual events. In her “free” time she enjoys volunteering for her church and community and is a big fan of MOPS and AWANA. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or her blog.