Fall for the Book Romance Panel at George Mason University
Yesterday, I was fortunate to be on the "In the Mood for Love" panel at George Mason University'sFall for the Book with Ada Calhoun and Katy Upperman.
The event featured over 150 authors, including headliner Lev Grossman. I got to see him speak about The Magicians. His sense of humor and his humble nature really resonated with me and inspired me to pursue my dreams. Hearing his story of struggle in the writing field and also how he came up with the idea for the series resonated with me. I definitely recommend you check him out if you are a writer struggling with inspiration.
My panel with Ada Calhoun and Katy Upperman was equally as inspiring. These two women are passionate about what they write, which shows in their works. In addition, they are just genuinely nice people, which made the event so much fun.
I also got to meet Natalina Reis, who happens to be an author at my publishing house, Hot Tree Publishing. To see her willingness to drive just to support me really made me so grateful to be at a publisher with a true family feel.
Being an author can sometimes be lonely, but events like today really give you the motivation to keep going. Networking with other authors, hearing their struggles and triumphs, and just being around people with a similar passion as you really incites you to chase your own version of greatness.
Thank you so much Fall for the Book for having me. And to all of the authors out there...get out there to events. Be social. You never know where motivation and inspiration will take hold.
Happy writing, happy reading, and happy weekend!
“I’m really done this time,” I bellowed through snot and tears as my husband drove us through the infernal rainstorm toward home.
We were soaking wet, freezing, and most of all, disheartened. As a small-time romance writer, I’d set my hopes and dreams on this book festival. I’d prepared for months for what I imagined was my chance to breakout and meet new readers in a different state. I’d printed my handouts, gathered giveaway supplies, and advertised. I’d found a new sense of positivity and founded my hopes of growing as an author on this weekend event set to draw in thousands.
In short, this was going to be my moment to shine and to get my career off the ground.
Instead, after hours of driving, we arrived at a festival quite literally washed out by an all-day rainstorm. Rain pelted us from every direction as we lugged our supplies into the “rain or shine” event. Under a rickety tent in the back corner of the festival near the bathrooms, my husband and I sat in the midst of a barren wasteland of a literary festival. We spent our entire day shaking from cold and watching a few stragglers wander by our leaking tent.
We watched my dreams wash away into the overabundant puddles. We only sold two books that day, one being a fellow author who took pity on us in our own tent.
In my mind, the day was symbolic of my writing career—a wash. I’d been through a roller coaster of emotions as I navigated the sometimes-hopeless publishing world. My passion for writing was threatening to fade away. That literary festival only underscored my beliefs.
Thus, on the way home, tears mixing with rainwater and the feel of failure weighing heavy on my shoulders, I turned to my husband and vowed I was done. I was putting down the pen, stowing away the unfinished manuscripts, and quitting writing.
Calmly, with a strength in his voice, my also exhausted husband turned to me. “No, you’re not.”
The tears quieted, and confusion took over the sadness. How could he say that? He’d also spent the entire day in the torrential rain, had spent his entire weekend on yet another failed author event.
“Today was a waste of time. I can’t keep doing this,” I uttered.
“It’s not a waste of time. It’s your passion. It rained today and we didn’t do as well as we hoped. So what? Someday, you’ll look back on this and laugh. Just keep going.”
It wasn’t a well-written monologue with fancy sentiments. My husband uttered a few lines that to anyone else would have seemed meaningless.
But to a writer struggling with confidence and resolve, these were the words I needed. They kickstarted a drive in me to keep going and to smile through the journey. They made me realize that overnight success wasn’t the goal. The goal was to learn and grow, to appreciate every step and misstep along the way.
Now, a year and a half later, I look back on that rainy, gloomy day and realize it wasn’t a waste of time. That day was the day I realized no matter what types of deluges I had to sit through, my husband would be by my side, cheering me on in this journey to chase my dreams.
For every writer, this is the most important thing to find—that one person who, even in a rainstorm, will be your cheerleader and motivation.
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