Being a Writer is Insane

Photo by Min An on

I must be crazy. Yep, I am completely bonkers. I have lots of stories swimming inside my head. All of them are twisting and turning on each other. Characters are revolting and threatening a coup de grâce.

I sit at the computer looking at the half-finished manuscript and my hands freeze. I mean completely stop, no words form in my brain. My hands do not move, not tapping of keys, no stroking of a pen, nothing, nada….can you hear me now? Nothing. I kid you not.

Fine, let me give my novel the cold shoulder and come write for the nice readers on Medium. They love me.

Deciding to be an author was the easiest part of this journey I have undertaken. The first few novels came out of me in a rush of words. Maybe it was the adrenaline, the wine or my husband’s motivation. (E.I. no Game of Thrones or Vikings unless I wrote 1K good words in a night.) What also helped were the rejections hiding behind acceptance. Things like “We love your story idea can you add vampires or zombies as the main character?” No thanks, haven’t we seen enough of that. Or my personal favorite, when I sent in a submission for an unnamed publisher who boasted “Yes we take unsolicited work” and I got this reply….

“We like your article/short story, but we don’t have the budget to pay for freelance work.”

It was after many many responses like this that I decided to self publish my novels. I know that is not the answer for everyone; however, for me, it seems to be the only answer right now. I have several reasons why waiting for that one Yes in a growing pile of No would not work for me. Of course, if that one Yes shows up I am not going to turn it down if the time is right and contingencies are worth it. My reasons for self-publishing and not waiting, were what many writers have to consider and some are uniquely my own.

I am not a young person. Gray hair notwithstanding, I am not ancient with one foot in the old folks home, but I have fewer years in front of me than I have behind me. I have a full-time gig with benefits. My day job pays the bills. I have less than seven years in my job before I am eligible for retirement, so I am sticking with it.

My stories do not fit in the nice genre mold of Christian fiction and yet, God is in everything I write. There spirituality and Christianity sit on the page next to all the other plot themes of jealousy, conspiracy, mental illness, family drama, romance and yes, even sex.

I tend to say what I mean and mean what I say. I am outspoken and will not hide the truth under political or social correctness. If it is true, it is true. I may coat it with some southern sugar and charm as I push the boundaries of reality and make readers uncomfortable with the truth.

I pray that one day something I write will land me that golden egg of a publishing deal. I will not sit around on my fanny and wait on it. I will write. I will lose sleep to work on words. I will sacrifice time and other things to create characters, worlds, and stories. I will continue to strive for that masterpiece, that best seller. I will risk insanity. And for what? For prosperity and wealth…for fame? No, my goal is simple.

I want to leave a canon or anthology of thought and truth that might one day speak to someone at the exact time they need it all for the glory of God.

Believe in your mission, do not quit, even if it drives you insane.

~Lori O’Gara

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