Before my children were born I spent exorbitant amounts of time reading at my in-laws. Like hours and hours. I would also sleep a lot there… something about the amazing bed and lack of responsibilities, and the sleep inducing fumes we joked my mother in-law pumped through the house. It also probably had something to do with the fact that my in-laws often gifted me with books.
In their house, on their couch, I could devour chapter after chapter, passing hour after comfortable hour, uninterrupted in a reader’s haven. But it wasn’t only books that I read at their house. I also occasionally picked up one of the many magazines to which they subscribed or the newspaper that came every day.
The Star Tribune blew our little town, twice a week newspaper, out of the water. Entire sections were devoted to entertainment and travel. World Issues and more ads than any one shopper could truly tackle waited in a neat stack on the coffee table every, single, morning.
In was in this grand newspaper that I discovered an article about Minnesota (formerly of Florida) author Kate DiCamillo.
Side note: Kate is one of my favorites. Her words are purely delectable to consume. Heartwarming. Spellbinding. Imaginative, while also grounded in reality. And did I mention her word choice is to-die-for delicious? Ahhhh, Kate DiCamillo. A literary hero. A word nerd goddess in human form.
Even though the article I’m going to tell you about was published 4 years ago, it impacted me so greatly that here I am, writing about it today on my blog. When I looked it up online to quote it correctly, the words were familiar. I believe this is mostly because of a conversation between Kate and another Minnesota author, Louise Erdrich, that was recorded in it.
Two years later Kate published her Newbery Honor Award winning (and also debut novel), Because of Winn Dixie. She accomplished this award winning, life changing feat, approximately 6 years after she started seriously writing.
When I first read the article, I had been writing seriously for three years. I knew that I wasn’t Kate DiCamillo. But neither did Kate DiCamillo three years before she made it big in the writing world. It sounds strange, but because so much of the writing industry is made up of shrouded-and-secret-conversations-behind-closed-doors-with-elite-individuals… or at least that’s how it often feels to me… I was THRILLED to have this tangible piece of a road map to success. Or, at least a piece of someone’s road map to success. Needless to say, I clung to it. I just had to keep writing. For three more years. If I kept at it, I could do it. Kate did.
It is now 2018. 7 years since I started writing articles on Yahoo.com for pennies a click. 7 years since I started seriously working on my craft and a novel idea I’d first had 4 years before that. 7 years and 8 self-published books later. 7 years and over 80 blog posts later. 7 years. Now in 2018, I can say that writing makes up over half of my income and will continue to grow.
7 years later, in 2018, I can proudly say that I just signed my very first traditional publishing contract, with KWiL.
See that mention about a geocaching series... THAT's ME!
Louise was right.
So for all of you word nerds out there despairing, hang in there. You can do this. It might take 6 years, or 7, or 28. But it can be done. It can be done by YOU. To help, here are a few more great pieces of advice I got from that fated article four years ago about Kate, via the wonderful Star Tribune journalist, Laurie Hertzel.
If you are hungry for more of Kate DiCamillo’s work or advice, head over to her enchanting website.