Guest post by Chris Fabry
If you really want to make it as a writer, find somebody.
If you want to reach some level of success, as in “ by a publisher,” find somebody.
If you are tired of dreaming alone, find somebody.
If your spouse doesn’t understand your obsession, don’t try to make them understand. Find somebody.
I can take you to the bookstore in Chicago where I first had the dream. I stood outside, looking over the titles in the window, and whispered, “Someday a book of mine is going to be on that shelf.”
But it was just a dream, and a lonely one. I was unknown in publishing circles. So I found somebody.
That “somebody” happened to be Jerry Jenkins. And to be honest, I’m not sure I found him as much as he found me, because I was timid, hesitant to share my dream with someone who had so many books under his belt.
That’s the thing. Fear will hold you back from finding somebody to help you reach your dream.
Jerry and I were eating when I pushed some pages across the restaurant table and said something like, “I’m not interested in a bestseller, I just want to know if this is any good.”
What I wanted Jerry to say, what I hoped he would say, was, “Wow, you need to run right out to the nearest publisher and show this to them. This is fantastic! I’ve never seen words put together like this in my life!”
Instead, he looked hard at me and covered the top page with a hand. “If your stuff is good, why wouldn’t you want it to get out there?”
Fear, no doubt. Insecurity. I took a drink to soothe my suddenly parched throat.
He said, “I’m willing to help because I sense you’re serious, but I warn you, this is going to hurt.”
I assured him I was serious, and he wasn’t kidding. It did hurt.
Enduring the Pain
Jerry pulled out his red pen and started marking, rewriting, making lines, and drawing arrows. I was aghast.
Months later, after sending him a finely-honed story I was sure needed not one more edit, he drew a big black line through the first ten pages and wrote, “Here is your beginning.”
Losing those pages stung. But I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I had a beginning. He’d found something good. It was a start.
Instead of being discouraged, I was energized that he saw a beginning to my story that I hadn’t.
And that all happened because I found somebody.
I found somebody who had made mistakes, had become frustrated, hit a wall in their writing, written a lot of books, made a fair amount of money, and was still enthralled with the writing life.
I found somebody who had “been there” but wasn’t content to be there alone. He wanted to extend a hand to help someone behind him.
I found somebody who, years earlier, had found somebody.