Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Stay in the Game!

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By Kerrie Flanagan

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls, making us question whether or not we should stay in this writing game. But if you stay at the plate, sooner or later one is thrown right down the middle, giving you the chance to hit it out of the park.

For 17 years I have been in the game. I’ve experienced strike-outs, foul balls and bruises, along with some singles, doubles and triples. There have been many moments of landing on the base with my arms held in triumph knowing I did something right to get there. Whether it was getting an article published in a magazine, presenting at a local writer’s conference or self-publishing my books, I celebrated all these achievements.

I continued to stay in the game because I held on to the dream of a home run. 

Writer’s Digest has been part of my writing life from the very beginning. I learned early on that it was the place to turn for incredible resources like The Writer’s Market, Writer’s Digest Magazine and great writing books. These resources, guided me through the process, helped me through the emotional ups and downs that come with writing and they gave me the information I needed to succeed.

Over the years I have met some key players with Writer’s Digest. I had some editors present and keynote at the Northern Colorado Writer’s Conferences when I was director and I wrote articles for some of the WD publications. Last year a job opportunity opened up as a conference coordinator with Writer’s Digest. I applied and was offered the job. Letting go of Northern Colorado Writers, a group I founded eight years earlier, was not easy, but I knew it was in extremely capable hands with April Moore, so I took the job.

I felt like I hit a line drive into the outfield. I was going to get to help coordinate the Writer’s Digest conferences. I was going to be part of the team. I was even going to present at the conferences. I was thrilled. But, as I was rounding third base, I was tagged. Due to some restructuring in the company, the position I held for 6 months was being eliminated. I was out.

I sat on the bench, staring out on to the field. Wondering what I was going to do next. Do I get back out there or do I pack up and go home? Was it time to find something else to do?

As I considered my next steps, the WD team asked if I still wanted to present at the conference. Not wanting to leave the game, I agreed. I stepped back up to bat and hit the ball. Presenting at the Writer’s Digest Conference this past August was a dream come true. Being part of the event and being able to share my experiences with writers and teach them about magazine writing, was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

This time, though as I rounded third base, there was a clear line to home base. A book proposal I submitted to Writer’s Digest Books for a Guide to Magazine Writing book, was accepted. The contract has been signed and I am now diligently working on this book that is scheduled to release in the fall of 2017. Home run!

Being a writer is not easy. Finding that success, whether that is getting a publishing deal, earning a living as a freelance writer or self-published author, or having a NY Times bestseller, doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work. It takes practice. It takes showing up. But the writers who stay in the game; the ones who persevere, are the ones who will hit those home runs.


Dean K Miller said...

Indeed, you have stayed in the game and deserve that home run! Know your fans are cheering you the entire way around the diamond!

Michelle Mach said...

Good for you for making lemonade with those lemons! Can't wait to see the book when it comes out.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Congratulations on that new book contract, Kerrie. That's a wonderful accomplishment!

We never know what's coming around the corner to mess with our plans, but right attitude and the ability to embrace change sure makes a difference. I'm not sure where I'm going next after my publisher Five Star decided to drop their mystery line, but I feel more excitement than discouragement. Who knows what might be waiting out there for us when something like that happens? It could be really, really good. Your story is an excellent example!

April Moore said...

Yes, congrats on the book, Kerrie!
This reminds me of something Grant Blackwood said during his keynote at the last conference--that if we stop sending queries, we could have been one week away from getting that book deal.
So, also long as we keep up (batting) practice, we'll be a better writer every time we step up to the plate.

JC Lynne said...

This is the kind of thing we need reminded. It's so easy to plug away and feel like you're sloshing through at a snail's pace. Thanks for the reminder to keep on with the work and so happy to hear about your book!

Kerrie said...

Thanks Michelle. :-)

Kerrie said...

Thanks Dean! Makes it easier knowing I have support out there.

Kerrie said...

Thank Pat! And yes, we never know what is around the corner. I am sure there are great things ahead for a talented writer like you. :-)

Kerrie said...

Thanks April. Exactly! If we stop we will never know how close we really were. I hear that time and time again from authors.

Kerrie said...

Thanks! I think it is important for writers to be reminded to hang in there. If you are doing what you love, your preparation and practice will soon meet up with opportunity!

Kelly Baugh said...

Wonderful post, Kerrie. Baseball is such a great analogy for writing--the strike outs, the fouls, the fly balls. Thanks for writing a post that encourages all of us to stay in the game despite whatever is happening in that specific moment.

Kerrie said...

Thanks Kelly. I thought baseball was a good fit too. It is sooo important that writers stick with it if they want to find success in the writing world.

Jennifer Goble said...

Great blog Kerri…real - emotional - wisdom. So happy for you with a book contract! Life happens as intended:)

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