525,600 Minutes

How do you measure a year?


Cupcakes make me smile

A year ago I was ready to quit writing.

Quitting might have been healthier for me – mentally, physically, psychologically – but like any addiction, it also would have killed me to quit. If I go too long without adding at least a scene to whatever wip I’m in, I jones.

So I didn’t quit.

And within days, my super fabulous agent told me I had a three-book deal, I immediately applied for PAN, and now a year later, I still can’t believe I’m a published author. I produced a piece of work that someone else thought was strong enough to publish, and now strangers judge my characters, setting, plot, me.

But a year ago, the beginning of my career as a published author was also the end of a journey, a journey that almost destroyed my dreams.

When I first realized I could draft a novel, finish it, revise it, and query it, the blank page was fresh and new and filled with promises and possibilities. Yippee!

Each query letter to each agent was well-researched, and despite the rejections, the partial and full requests made me feel wanted. Yippee!

Once my perfect Agency found me, and editors read my manuscripts, an avalanche of insecurities barreled down on me. Suddenly publishing professionals foundΒ my work – me – lacking. What happened to the good old days, when my critique partners said I was brilliant and agents wanted to represent me?


Super fabulous Nicole Resciniti

It was like getting invited to a party by a friend (agent) and then realizing the hostess (editor) doesn’t want you there.

Blank pages filled me with dread.

All those ideas I had? Seemed stupid.

My critique partners lied to me. My work sucked. Editors said so. Maybe not to my face, but I knew they thought it. I wasted so much time and energy on stuff I couldn’t change.

But my super fabulous agent talked me back from the cliff.

It took me a long time to realize what was in my control and what was out of my control. Sometimes I still don’t know, and I still notice the negativity, but I’m getting better at pushing it to the back of my mind. I’m prioritizing with positive thoughts and making time to be thankful – oh so thankful – for so much.


Magnificent Mary Sue Seymour

A year ago I was ready to quit writing. Now I measure my year in word count and client submissions, smiles, phone calls, and tweets and retweets, good news, great news, and fabulous news, and hugs. So many hugs.

How do you measure your year?


About Marisa Cleveland

writer. reader. infinite dreamer.
This entry was posted in dreamer, writer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to 525,600 Minutes

  1. Thanks for this post! I’ll admit, my first thought was ‘What? A year ago she wanted to quit? Seriously?’ I think my mouth even dropped πŸ˜‰ But it’s always reassuring and inspiring to hear how other writers go through this and still make it. It’s a warm ray of hope.

  2. lorielangdon says:

    Love this, Risa! We’ve all been there.
    As I think you have, I’ve learned being grateful is the key–the key to getting past negative reviews and not enough time in the day and even when the words won’t come.
    I’m SO glad you didn’t give up!! Hugs!

  3. Jenny Powell says:

    Roller Derby bruises.

  4. Tonya says:

    I love that you’re so honest about quitting. Yes, we’ve all been there. And thank goodness you didn’t because you’ve since become my fairy godmother – helping make my, and so many others, dreams come true! What an inspirational post. ❀ ya! *sending one big tackle hug* xo

  5. amandaflower says:

    Sending a hug and a cupcake!

  6. An awesome post! You’re an inspiration to us all! πŸ™‚

  7. “Like your spirit…everyone of you are terrific…” says the Block Of Wood.

  8. You’ve had a fabulous year, and I am SURE the next one will be even better. Hugs,

    • Marisa Cleveland says:

      Vannetta, I’m so blessed to have you as an Agency-sibling! Can’t wait to meet you and get that hug. πŸ™‚

  9. This is exactly what I needed today. Thank you for being so honest! πŸ™‚

  10. jamieayres says:

    I measure my year by how much time you spend with me πŸ˜‰ Love ya ❀

  11. Millie Burns says:

    Nice : ). Seems like it’s been a pretty good year. Hugs make it all awesome!

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