Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Write Stuff

I'd like to welcome our guest blogger, Stacy Gooch Anderson. Thanks for stopping by to tell us about your writing experience. I'm excited to get to know you better.

The Write Stuff

by Stacy Gooch Anderson

As I have entered the world of publishing and found snippets of success, many people have commented that I am very lucky. I would have to agree but there is more to it than that. Besides luck, there are many prayers, a few choice gifts from God and a LOT of the "write" stuff.

Before there was national contracts for The Santa Letters and Life is Tough - I Doubt I'll Make it Out Alive, before there was talk of movie rights, before there was a trip to the Book Expo America,....there was close to twenty years of frustration, late nights, rejections, building a resume, thoughts that I could not convert to paper, rejections, trying to find my inner voice and,....oh yeah, did I mention rejections?

When another rejection would come, my children would once again think I was slipping into a delusional psychosis as I'd throw what came to be known around my home as a "rejection party" which usually included dinner, dancing and music. I looked at every rejection as one step closer to success - all 48 of them.

During a seven year period of time I endured a house fire, heath crisis's, my own cancer scare, two pets' deaths, my husband's unemployment, my dad and grandmother's deaths, finding out my sons had been in a sexually abusive situation, a couple of years of intense counseling for them and the rest of our family, a burglary and a couple of car thefts. Through it all, I persevered and clung to what I figured was becoming a real case of neurosis and continued to write.

I eventually landed a small job as a journalist in a local paper, threw myself into learning all I could and became the best I could be. That landed me the trust of my editors who then gave me more responsibility and some pretty big stories to work on. That earned me some awards - some of them considered pretty prestigious amongst my band of peers including the ones at the big dailies. That brought job offers which I turned down because my head was already swollen from the stories floating around in there because I hadn't had time to put them to paper.

At one awards ceremony as they were introducing the recipient as the person who'd done so many articles, they quit counting at three hundred, I leaned over to one of my close friends and said, "That idiot must either really like writing, not care about having a life or both."

They called out my name.

That was when I decided that I needed to return to my roots and tell MY stories. I'd had a grand time telling everyone else's,but I needed to pull back and deflate my head. Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer and since my father had passed away three years prior from the same disease, I became her sounding board, her care-giver, her taxi service and her medical advocate. At 40, I was facing becoming the matriarch of my family and I was not prepared. How did I handle it?

I did the "write" stuff and put every emotion and heart felt desire and lesson I personally learned into stories that eventually touched the hearts of those who read them. When I finally did submit The Santa Letters, one publisher contacted me in three days with an urgent request to schedule a meeting and to tour their facilities. Another sent me an anonymous email with the evaluations attached and an admonition "to get published - this story needs to be told". And the third sent me a box of books with a note enclosed saying, "We hope to see your titles amongst these very soon."

A year later as I sit at the precipice of The Santa Letters making its national debut, I marvel at what has gone on. I am indeed lucky, but I cannot and will not dismiss a loving God who directed my life in such a way that I could do my best and write stories that touch the nerves of those who read them. Nor can I dismiss the pleadings of an aching heart or the effort I put in hoping for a blessing after the trial of my faith as I continued day after day doing what I now affectionately call the "write" stuff.

Luck? Yes,....but it took a whole lot more too before I could get to that place of having a bit of it.

One year ago on Christmas Eve, William died. For Emma, the hit-and-run driver killed more than her husband; he killed her joy in life itself.

Now, as Christmas approaches again, Emma Jensen finds herself sinking into a depression that nothing can breach—not her job, not her love for her children, and certainly not the season. Money is tight, and emotions are taut, and this year Christmas will be a meager, empty, and painful experience. Only six-year-old McKenna believes in miracles and the magic of Christmas. The rest of the family knows that Christmas can never be the same. But when a mysterious package and an ornate letter arrive on the doorstep, things begin to change. Each day, a package and a letter signed “Santa” arrive for the family, and together they come to understand that the joy of Christmas does not have to be lost forever, and that God’s love can heal any wound, no matter how deep. The Santa Letters will take the Jensens on a journey through a Christmas experience that will have the power to heal them all.

Thanks, Stacy for sharing your story with us. Good luck with the rest of the publishing experience. I look forward to reading your book. You can check out Stacy's blog, Stayin' Alive with Stacy.


Marsha Ward said...

Great post, Stacy. I look forward to reading your books.

Kim Thompson said...

I love the rejection party idea! I'll have to remember that one.