Note: This essay originally appeared on the Writer Fairys website on September 24, 2019. Since that website has ceased to exist, I’m posting it here as a record of my writing journey, hoping it might inspire someone else. The following exposes my mindset back then. Today, I’m preparing to launch my debut novel, ONE TOUGH COOKIE, on July 18.
I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason.
Whenever I had a setback, I always tried to find the positive consequence it brought and, usually, I found it. I could see how that bad moment led to everything that came after, the sequence of events that unfolded as a result.
Then in 2012, I moved to Germany for love and struggled to find a job. I have a PhD in Food Science but after three years of looking, I gave up the search. During this time, I prayed for a sign, looked for the reason this was happening to me. If I couldn’t work in the field I dedicated more than ten years of my life, what was I supposed to do? That’s when I found writing.
I’d never thought of becoming a writer. I never considered myself creative, hence why I pursued a career in science. But I’d always had these movies in my head that came to me out of the blue. Some faded with time while others persisted through the years to be revisited and revised in my head. While I was going through my existential crisis, one of those movies was very present in my mind. One day, I downloaded it from my brain onto paper.
To be able to make something out of the few scenes I had, I needed to fill in the gaps. I had no idea how to do this, so I researched how to write a short story, never imagining I could fill in a whole novel. Then I jotted down a few details about those other movies in my head, now recognizing them for what they really were—story ideas. Could it be that I was always meant to be a writer? Is that why I couldn’t find a job, so that I could finally recognize that in myself?
That a-ha moment was invigorating. I felt so blessed. This was the reason I’d been struggling to find, the answer to my prayers. So, I wrote. And it came so easy to me. Effortless. I couldn’t believe it. In three months, I completed the first draft of a novel.
After all my struggles I thought the journey would be easy. I would be one of the lucky ones, I thought. All I needed was to avoid the rookie mistakes and I’d land an agent and a book deal fast. No more struggling.
But it didn’t turn out like that. Although I had positive feedback on my writing and plot from beta readers and contests, I only got one full request from an agent. After forty-three queries and two years, I had to admit to myself that my novel wasn’t ready yet, that it needed more revision. The path I thought would be easier turned out to be just as hard.
I wanted to give up. But during that time, I had a baby and wanted to prove myself to her. Plus, I got another idea for a novel, one that popped up in a dream. This time I would be more strategic, I decided. Now I knew so much more than when I started writing. I would make sure that my novel was in the best state possible and get as much feedback as I could before querying it.
This is the stage where I am now, revising the third draft of my new novel. I have high hopes it’ll be the one. I have to hope because if not, what was the point? It can’t be that I found the answer to my prayer only for it to lead to a dead end. And so, faith is what keeps me going through the doubt and the fear. I can’t give up. I need to keep working hard and find out where this path leads me.