Cinderella: a Writer’s Journey

In a day where technology is racing along at the speed of light and publishing houses are playing the odds on e-books—while scrambling to stay one step ahead of the Twilight-Hunger Games audience, I’m here to make a public proclamation: There still exist those real-life author fairy tales Hallmark movies are made from.

As a first-time author, I’m here to give you hope. Unlike the Loch Ness Monster, there do exist magical Cinderella contracts bestowed on a handful of writers who have been quietly toiling away—but by some divine miracle have the right book at the right time and bibbity-bobbity-boo!

I know this to be true because early on in my writing career, I received an invitation to the ball.

In the spring of last year I got to work. Those first few days we magical, but, it was only a matter of time before writing in glass slippers caused backbreaking blisters. The fairytale excitement had worn off. My husband’s words haunted me, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Being tapped to write a nonfiction book when you’ve cut your teeth on less than a dozen magazine articles creates a tsunami-sized learning curve.

My first lesson? Writing is a passion, publishing is a business. It wasn’t the balloons and cotton candy experience I’d imagined. This was hard work.

As a nonfiction writer, I write what I know. So, I thought I’d share a few do’s and don’ts I’ve learned along the way, just in case you happen to run into someone like me, whose  writing future includes a coveted invitation to the ball.

Do – Encourage.

Whether you’re a big-cheese-author or a newbie-novice, if Cinderella allows you to peek at a chapter or two, don’t pretend to be an Oxford English scholar. Rejoice in ways she used fragments and power verbs to punch the reader right between the eyes before you bleed on her page. Critiques should always include encouragement.

Do—Give back.

Nothing screams Cinderella-amateur like a selfish, self-centered wordsmith. Look for others who love words and love to write and inspire a beginner to great things.

Do—Pray for Cinderella.

As a writer, you carry a solitary torch of words burning from within—words that need an organized escape for there to be peace in your soul. Prayer is much needed for a Cinderella-author to launch words onto paper in a soul-inspiring way.

Don’t – Don’t share with Cinderella or others that she’s undeserving or not ready.

It makes you look small and bitter. If a Cinderella-author has more than four brain cells in her head she’s already struggling with this concept.

Don’t – Ask your new-author friend to put in a good word or pass on your book proposal to their publisher or agent.

Chances are they signed contracts and had a couple phone calls but haven’t even met them.

Don’t- Reveal your green-eyed-monster.

Every writer’s path leads down a different road. Don’t envy Cinderella’s. Her contract may have come a lot sooner than yours, but there is no guarantee their career will be longer lasting.

In our competitive, unknown, publishing future there still exist agents and editors who see a sparkle of something—and take a risk. Remember, every successful author began with someone believing in their very first book.

Still a skeptic? For every rejection slip and returned manuscript, there is always hope.  Cinderella-authors do exist. Don’t give up. Don’t lose faith. Keep learning. Keep writing. And, as my husband would say, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

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Joanne Kraft writes to encourage women to fulfill their God-given roles as wife and mom and to walk boldly into their promised land. Her writing is transparent and humorous. Joanne has been published by In Touch, Today’s Christian Woman, ParentLife, Kyria and P31 Woman magazines. Her first book, Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical was released in June by Beacon Hill Press. She leads Inspire’s El Dorado Hills critique group, serves on the Inspire Board of Directors and hosts an ongoing workshop for bloggers.