Living in Almost, but Not Quite

© 2012 by Heather Palmer


Almost, but Not Quite is a place where every writer will find themselves at one point or another in their career. Right now, I am SO queen of this land. It’s not a fun place to be, but for now it’s where I need to be.

As writers, we have a craft to learn. There are so many facets of this craft and learning them takes time. Most days I find myself impatient, hungry, and chomping madly at the air around me trying to force something to happen in my writing career. I’ve discovered this does nothing other than make me more frustrated and discouraged with my current state.

Now, I’m not some self-pitying, wallowing kind of person. I’ve been writing since I can remember, penning my first stories with one of those fat pencils children use to learn to write with. Writing is in my blood. The essence of stories slides through my veins with every beat of my heart.

This week I didn’t final in yet another contest, but what I have learned is far more powerful than a certificate I can hang on the wall of my office. I got feedback.

And…with feedback comes rejection.

Rejection is part of being a writer and regardless of how long you’ve been honing your craft and plying your words we all must find ways to deal with rejection. For me, I give myself a short amount of time to wallow, to scream, to cry and wail at the world in general and then…I suck it up. Having tough skin in the writing world is a MUST.

Being a writer, you know everyone is not going to drop to their knees and kiss the pages of whatever awesome story you’ve churned out in a raging fit of inspiration. Writing takes work–A LOT of work. Part of our jobs is to ensure our work is ready. And for me, I know because of this recent feedback, it’s not quite ready.


But not quite.

So, what do you do? I ask myself often…how bad do I want this? How bad can I taste a publishing contract on my tongue? Many of you will have the same answer: so bad you can feel the sharp, thin edge of the paper slicing into your flesh and drawing blood. This blood is rich with every ounce of effort you have expended into creating the best work you can offer.

But again, you could still reside in Almost.

Follow your ritual. Work through whatever you need to pick yourself up and get back into your chair and at your keyboard. Drink your wine and eat your chocolate. Hide in bed for a day. Pick up your favorite author’s book and read it again for the millionth time to solidify WHY you do what you do. Then…get back to work.

Fix what you know needs fixed. Revise like the hounds of hell are nipping at your tired feet. Now for me, I hate revision. I would rather have every hair plucked out of my scalp one strand at a time than sit down and pour through the same manuscript I have written four times.

Four times.

Today, I start round five.

You are not alone in this. Writing is a journey and we must embrace that part of us which makes us whole–the part of us that calls to our souls every waking and sleeping moment of our lives. The part we cannot and will not abandon. No matter how many times we have to polish and cleanse.

When we accomplish this…we WILL move beyond Not Quite into the land of I Have Finally Made It.

Oh, but here’s the painful part…then we start all over again.

Love what you do. Live for it, eat it, breathe it and sleep it.

And one day you will make it out into the world of being published and so will I.


Until the next bite…Heather

The Unsung Hero

© 2012 by Heather Palmer

Today is the launch of my blog site. I had planned on giving you a blog about the Law of Attraction, but as I lay in the dark in the early morning hours in the warmth and safety of my bed another topic infiltrated my thoughts. As a writer we are often asked to create larger than life characters, heroes or alpha males with a sexual potency alluring enough to ensnare even the most unsuspecting reader into the clutches of our stories.

This week another anniversary of 9/11 will pass, a day in America that will mark our history for eternity. Last night, I sat with my 11-year old nephew on the couch astounded and proud he was so moved by the two-hour documentary recounting the events of that awful day. As we watched, I recalled where I had been on September 11th, 2001; once more cocooned in the comfort of my bed as the world around me trembled.

I have been to the site of the twin towers where they once stood in all their glory. I have touched the names engraved into the wall of the many who gave their lives on that terror-filled day. I have also touched the names of many who have done the same in the name of our country in Washington D.C. The somberness is prevalent at all of these places and will always be present, but burning bright as we work to re-build the towers, hope burns like a living, breathing flame.

A hero can be anyone. Man or woman, adult or child, and sometimes…maybe not even human. Not so long ago there was a commercial on television that always brought tears to my eyes every time I saw it. It showed normal, everyday people doing something nice for someone else out of the sheer kindness of their hearts. These are the unsung heroes I speak of.

The world is composed of people who do this on a daily basis and without tribute or even so much as a thank you. Many of these same people were among the nearly three thousand that gave the greatest sacrifice of all: their lives. I encourage all of you to take a moment this week to stop and look for the unsung heroes in your world and thank them.

To all of you who have given, might give and will give your lives for this country; I thank you.

And most of all…we will never forget.