Donna Everhart

No Rhyme Or Reason

Did you know that the path to publication is skewed  and that if you want absolute clarity on how it worked out for other writers, the answer would be as different as each person you asked?

It’s true.  Oh, we love, love, love to read stories like this.  (Thanks for sharing on FB, Janet Reid)

Or, maybe not.  I mean, how lucky can one girl get?  Then again, I’m sure luck didn’t have a thing to do with it.  It’s obvious she wrote a great story.  Period.

Anyway, there was also this great post by Writer’s Digest and it got me to thinking – once again – about the path to publication.   I felt better after reading it.  No.  Seriously, I did.  Why?  Because it meant anything can happen.  It proved there are scads of writers, very talented writers, with very savvy storytelling, yet, they haven’t been whisked through some magical publishing door as soon as they presented themselves on an agent/or editor’s doorstep.

There really is no rhyme or reason to it.  If there existed a golden template called “PUBLISHING GUARANTEED IF YOU DO THIS AND THIS = BOOK DEAL,” we’d all be published by now.  But that’s as likely as the Haley Bop comet passing us by again this year.  (orbital period: 2,537 years and we just saw it in 1995, don’t you remember???)

In a way, I like this uncertainty.  Let me explain why — because I know you’re wondering.

It makes us bleed over our pages, rip them to shreds, pull our hair, and begin again, because it’s just – not – good – enough.  It makes us worry ourselves to the point of making everyone else around us miserable.  We push for word perfection, sentence perfection, paragraph perfection and on and on.  At first, we swear to God we’re going to get the story right even if it means we don’t eat, sleep or shower. As soon as our manuscript is out of our hands, we then pray to God, asking, is it good enough?  Please let it be good enough.

We are never quite sure during the process.  Therefore, we can always have hope.

I like the uncertainty of it all because I want to have hope…., don’t you?


Oh!  By the way, have you bought this yet??



14 thoughts on “No Rhyme Or Reason”

  1. I know just how that process feels, and you captured the doubt and tension and hope of it so well. I have a book coming out soon, and I realise how lucky I am that that is so. Someone buying it is another matter and another story. Perhaps you can write about that experience too.

    1. EEEEK! Peter! Congratulations! You must be swooning…but based on your blog, and the things you have written so very well, it’s really no surprise…

      You have to tell me when the book is coming out…title, etc. I’d be happy to blurb about it on my blog here. I’m all up for sharing publication stories…b/c as I said, it’s all so different!

    1. Wheeee! That had to be so exciting. I just went and “Liked” your author page…on FB, so I’ll get the updates as you post them. Congratulations again! (loved the title too btw)

    1. Good words…I like worth and worthy! And yes, exactly. You can’t just flip it out there on a whim knowing about all the discerning eyes that will eventually see it. That just makes one work all the harder.

  2. Signs, the movie, they are in the basement, aliens are fighting to get in, lights out, eeeek.
    No way out. Blackness. No way out. Now way out. They are all going to die horrible deaths at the hands of the long spear-tipped fingers of monsters.
    But then…but then…something happens, what, huh, never thought of that. Our sweet world and all humanity are saved. Saved I said, fucking saved.
    I know it’s crazy but that movie, that no way out moment in the basement taught me, NEVER. GIVE. UP.
    I have tried so hard and for so long to get an agent. I have been published dozens and dozens of times and yet I am in the basement, it’s dark and as far as I can tell, no one is is even tapping on my door. But I am still holding on because I believe in the magic of good writing and the serendipity of timing.
    Hope is the light at the end of my rope.

    1. Are you working on that ms, and if so, how far along are you? I think we were just about in the same place a couple months back in relation to word count? Just curious if you are still considering using the editor I used. Can’t recall, but thought it was memoir at one point? Not sure if she does memoir…but either way, she wasn’t my light…she was the rope. And sometimes a rope, to climb your way up, is what you need, not the light. 🙂

  3. Donna, to be honest, after my enthusiasm over that project and how I was pumping out the words…I have given up on fiction. It breaks my heart but the reality of my writing is that I’m a columnist, that’s what I do best. After spending 8 years working on two novels, (women’s fiction), I ache to have a traditionally published title page.
    But…I’m a short form writer and that’s that, I guess. My column gives me such joy. Continued doubts and rejections regarding fiction wear at me, so I am taking to heart what Joseph Campbell wrote:

    “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

    Because my sentiments are so personal, I probably should have written this in an email, but I think many of the writers who stop by here might identify. Finding our form is the key.
    In life Donna, you run, I walk. Walking would never be enough for you and running for me, would just about wear me out. That is our form.

    1. I didn’t know…but, I get it. And I can tell your columns do give you that sense of happiness, and satisfaction. Having said that, you never know…one day maybe someone will want to make a book out of those columns…I could almost imagine the title being what you have on your website. I loved the Joseph Campbell quote.

      1. Actually I am in the process of compiling the columns, old, new, plus the force and fallout of the pieces, sort of like a memoir, titled by what’s on the website, Head-slaps, Speed-bumps and Light-bulbs; one woman’s WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life. Many of my readers have asked for such a book but the few agents I have approached mention how hard it would be to sell. I am not daunted.
        Funny how just this morning I’m working on some of the old stuff,..I love this shit.

        BTW the Campbell quote was a favorite of my-son-laws sister who passed away a few months ago at the age of thirty. She was an amazing writer whose writing dreams of books being published, she had to let go of, just to survive.
        With only days to live she posted on her blog:

        In the end only three things matter: how much you have loved, how gently you have lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. Buddha

        Those two quotes hang on the wall in my new office.
        Christ, what am emotional morning I am having.

      2. I read some of her blog…I think you must have posted something that led me to it, as it was the only way I’d ever have found it…and I actually started before her diagnosis…her having the night sweats and being tired, etc…and then read the ones where she was going to go and find out what was wrong. She wrote all that so well…I was right there with her. Both quotes are wonderful.

        Oh, Lordy, yeah, these emotional moments we have…now what you need is a good laugh. Here’s to someone sending it your way…I suck at remembering jokes, otherwise I’d try to tell you one! XO.

  4. Here’s a short joke for ya.
    I’ll send this out to you males, and especially you females who have males in your life.
    Why do men walk upright?
    Because someone put beer on the top shelf.

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