What Would I Tell My Unpublished Self?

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Fear/Doubt, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing 7 Comments

By Patricia Bradley

The day this posts my tenth novel, Justice Delivered will release. For the past five years I have been living my dream of being a writer published writer. I’ve been a writer much longer. Much longer.

As I thought about this tenth book, I thought about all the things I wished I’d known when I first started writing many years ago, so I decided to write my unpublished self a letter.

Dear Patricia,

You didn’t know it was going to take so long to get a book published, did you? Would you have kept writing if you had? Or would you have thrown up your hands and said that’s too long and too difficult? I know you were tempted a few times. What a shame it would have been.

Looking back, I can see a few places where you could have made the journey easier. Like if you had connected with other writers earlier, gotten into a critique group, or attended a few conferences. But I realize it wasn’t always an option. It is easier now, with the Internet to connect with other writers. And those self-imposed deadlines could have been a little tighter. That discipline would have really helped when the publisher’s deadlines started coming.

But you did a few things right. Like taking classes, which I continue to do even now. And you finally were able to attend conferences where you met your agent…of course you didn’t realize it would take you five years to finish that manuscript she requested, but you finally did and she accepted you. *Note to self: don’t submit a book before you’re ready.

You kept learning the craft, so that when God opened the door for publication, you were ready to walk through it. Of course, you still had a lot to learn and each book has taught you something new. And when I begin our twelfth book since 2013, I’ll learn something new again.

I want you to know that when you receive a publishing contract, everything changes. Oh, not the excitement about writing, but the realization that you have a responsibility now to turn in a clean manuscript on time—writing is no longer something you do when you have time. Now you must make time for it. Writing is a job; other people are depending on you to do what you say you’ll do. That means that when a friend calls and wants to do lunch, you won’t always be available. It won’t be easy, but then, I don’t suppose any goal is easy.

Thank you for sticking to it. It’s been a wonderful journey, even the pre-pub days.

Your older and wiser (hopefully) self

What advice would you write in a letter to your unpublished self? @ptbradley1 #ACFWBlogs #writing #writingtip Click To Tweet

Carol finalist and winner of an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense, Patricia Bradley lives in Mississippi with her rescue kitty, Suzy. Her romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series and the Memphis Cold Case Novels. Justice Delivered, her fourth Cold Case Novel releases April 5, 2019. Connect with Patricia on her blog, Facebook and Twitter @ptbradley1.


Comments 7

  1. In writing back to who I was
    I don’t know what I’d say.
    Not from shyness, but because
    I would not turn his heart away
    from the awful peril he would face
    and the pain he’d have to write;
    the road through hell led to grace
    as dawn completes the night.
    If I appeared to that callow youth
    as a demon from a pantomime,
    could he accept the bitter truth
    of what comprised his time?
    Perhaps it’s best to let him dream;
    soon enough, the time to scream.

  2. Patricia, you’ve mentioned several lessons, but would you really have believed them earlier? We learn best by making mistakes, and all writers eventually do it that way. You’ve learned from your mistakes, and have earned our congratulations on ten great novels. Write on!

  3. Patricia, thank you for this encouragement! I’m now in that waiting and learning period, and I pray God will soon show me that I’m ready for that next step. Until then, I’ll continue writing and learning.

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