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  • Lori Housley

And So It Begins...

Updated: Mar 30

I wrote my first poem around the age of six. I presented it to my parents with dramatic flair and after hearing it, suggested I could be an author one day. While the poem got tucked away in a scrapbook, and now hangs framed on my wall, the ‘knowing’ within the deep places, connected immediately with their words. I didn’t understand it all back then, but I knew I resonated with that one word: author.

For nearly 43 years, writing took place in journals and academia. The manuscripts stayed safely tucked away on laptops, flash drives, and file folders up in my attic. Every time I started a new story with such courage. But then at some point in the process, I handed Fear the keys and would stop. Every. Single. Time. The last manuscript I began, I got quite far before Fear spoke up and said, “Nope. That’s too much.” I gathered all the hand written pages, stuffed them inside an old folder, and hid it in a box. Oh, I thought about it every day- every day for nearly eight years. Fear kept driving. While I fought the internal battle over following this path, or succumbing to the ancient stories of ‘not enough’, the scribbled-on pages, with their faded pencil marks, were gathering dust.

And then I woke up. It was January 2020. I don’t know if it was an instanteous moment, or a long, chewed-on processing, —perhaps a little of both— but I decided I was not coming to the end of my life saying I had never written a book because of fear. I desired to write for one reason- the uncompared joy writing gives me, and I would write for one purpose- to complete the story I’ve wanted to give to the world.

And so I did. Sitting on my back deck at a card table and painted kitchen chair, listening to birds sing their symphonic melodies. I wrote. As I watched spring burst forth, so did my writing. It was the age of the pandemic, and my life, as I knew it, came to a halt. I continued to write.

I never considered traditional publishing. I wouldn’t discuss publishing at all. I knew if I began to focus on those aspects, Fear might take her familiar seat. I wanted to write because I love to write. When I was almost finished, a friend, out of the blue, one day suggested that I at least try traditional publishing. I mean- what did I have to lose? And that same gut feeling- that same ‘knowing’, stirred once more.

I began querying. Learning to query. Practicing pitches (and in that order). One year from the day I pulled the dusty folder from it’s hiding place, an agent requested the full manuscript of my work. So far, I haven’t heard anything more. In the writing community, it’s called “ghosted”— maybe I have been ghosted, maybe it wasn’t something she wanted to pursue. I don’t know. What I do know, is during this time, I have continued to learn and develop skills. Recently, I pulled the manuscript back out, and saw a completely different approach that I believe tells the story with more heart and courage and power. So, I’m rewriting parts of it, tweaking other parts, and loving every minute I capture to work on it. Maybe the author had to catch up to the character’s longing....

This past year, I’ve completed a middle grade contemporary fiction manuscript, several picture book stories, and presently have additional works in progress in women’s upmarket fiction and non-fiction/memoir. I’ve won honorable mention in two different writing contests, and have found a critique group made up of five women who are some of the best encouragers and talented writers I know.

I haven’t met my agent yet. I’m excited to meet her though. I’ve been quite specific regarding what I desire. I’ve envisioned her a million times. Our connection, our commitment to mutual success, the opportunity to learn from her... I can’t wait!

One day... one day I will know the feeling of opening the box of my book in published form.

Join me on this journey!


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