Wednesday, March 05, 2008

And Then He Said

by Hannah Roveto

Funny, the reaction you get when your name appears in the paper. It's not like this was the first time; I'm somewhat active around town and I used to be a corporate spokesperson. The story on the Writers' Group was, however, the most personal story with my name attached. Funny, too, the reaction to the reactions.

People know I'm a writer. I don't usually get into the fiction thing because then there are so many questions I don't want to answer, don't know if I should answer. Do I tell them about the plot? Where I am? And the dreaded, "when will I be able to buy it?" Ummm...

Have to admit, however, when the only people who mentioned the story in the paper were my mother (to whom I'd emailed it), my husband and one neighbor, I was a little disappointed. The next day went to a show by comedienne Loretta LaRoche, where all of a sudden, everyone was mentioning it. I wanted to hug them all.

"So cool!" they said.

"No pressure now," I laughed back. "I'm the slow one on this curve. But I have a whole manuscript; I'm just finishing revisions. I'm close."

"You'll do it," they answered.

The third day I was sitting on the sidelines as large numbers of children ran around after a soccer ball. "Nice story," said one man.

"Thank you," I said, and I went into my slow-on-the-curve routine.

He was trying to be nice, I know. He smiled and said, "Well, that's the great thing about writing. As long as you're doing it, you're a writer. The publishing thing, well..."

I smiled back. And I promised myself to never, ever (after here, today) to get into the slow-on-the-curve routine again. From now on I say, simply, "thank you, I'm really excited."

The difference between writing and publishing is exactly why I found a writers' group. I had a lot to learn about writing and about getting something ready to be taken seriously. The manuscript on my screen behind this screen is the result of a lot of hard work and learning, and honest criticism and epiphanies. No matter where you are in the process, or whether you use a group, never damn your own hard work with faint praise. You know if you're serious. You know it's coming along. Just smile and write. And write. And write.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

So true, Hannah--no matter where we are the trick is to write. And write some more. And I also like your other bit of advice. Smile.

Lisa Marnell said...

Oh, Hannah, so inspiring! I love what you said about not claiming the slow route any longer.

Thank you for jump-starting my writing time today.


Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Judy, it's true. Smiling does make a difference. It reminds you that you got two more chapters revised the day before, that you really *are* happy with where it's gone and where it's going. And Lisa, we're rolling, girl! Someone asked me how long I'd been working on this and when she heard two years plus a bit, from first words to (fingers crossed), agent-ready, she shrugged. Then she said, "that's amazing, from what I've heard." I did hug her!


Larramie said...

Delighted to hear of your well-deserved local attention, Hannah. Oh, and remember: "Never complain, never explain." :)

Carleen Brice said...

Amen sister!

Wait till you get past "when can i buy it?" to "when you gonna be on oprah?" :-)

Shauna Roberts said...

Your WIP got more publicity than many published books. That's a real auspicious start on your writing career!

Anonymous said...

Nice post and I love what you said at the end. The writing and publishing thing.

Lisa said...

You've made me realize that I need to stop reacting with apologies and embarrassment whenever someone asks about my writing.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

No more dismissing our own work, work in progress, or any other thing that comes from our pens and typewriters and computers. And Shauna, it is true about the auspicious beginnig! It is a wonderful thing to be a part of this group. All I can say is that I have been primed on for How To Be A Good Author by three amazing authors and by default, their wonderful agents, and for that insight I am a lucky, lucky woman!