Writing is a solitary and often disheartening calling. We pour our hearts on the page and then send them into the world to be rejected. But, if you love it – you keep going – even when it’s hard to do. Dee J. Adams is with us to share her journey and her. . .
The dictionary defines perseverance as determined continuation with something. Basically, if you stick with something long enough and learn, study and grow, you will persevere. I absolutely believe this is true. I do also believe I am proof. I’ll give you an example.
When I moved to California from Texas, I wanted to be an actor. I studied to be an actor. When I got out of school, I hit the ground running with headshots and agent hunting and audition hunting. Slowly the work started trickling in. I was thrilled to work in commercials and get bit parts in television (mostly sitcoms). I continued to go to acting class and study my craft and continued to become a better actor. But let’s face it… Hollywood is a tough town (as I write about in my latest release, Living Dangerously). An actor has such miniscule control over getting hired that it’s a wonder there aren’t more people going postal after getting a rejection. I knew when my days of being in front of the camera were over. I got a call for an audition and instead of being excited about it, all I could think about was having to drive all the way across town in the dead middle of traffic. It was going to take me about an hour to get to the audition and at least that long—probably longer—to get home. All so someone could take my picture and say, “Thanks, we’ll get back to you.” Which by the way, they rarely do.
So… I clearly needed something new. It was about this time that I had a dream and ultimately wrote it down. Those 450 (handwritten!) pages became my first novel. I had no idea what I’d written and after some research, I discovered I had a romance novel. Well, wasn’t I surprised with that? So now what? My husband enrolled me in RWA for Mother’s Day and the rest is history. I found my local chapter and went to my first meeting and had a giant epiphany. There were others out there like me who heard voices in their heads and kept asking, “What if…” I found my people.
But then reality hit. Every meeting I attended thereafter, I learned something new. And after every meeting, I’d go home and re-write my book. By the sixth meeting I was in tears and didn’t want to go, because I knew I’d learn something new and have to re-write it again. (My first three books were practice books. I love them, but I’m not sure they’ll ever be published.)
Now we’re at my fourth book, which turns out to be the first book I sold. I mentioned that actors have very little control of getting hired. You can be the best actor on the planet, but if you don’t fit the description the writer/director/producer are looking for then you won’t get the part. (Unless of course you’re either famous or related to someone, but that brings up nepotism, which is also a mind bender on many different levels.) Back to the book… I pitched it to Harlequin minutes after they signed a licensing agreement with and for their NASCAR line. I knew about that deal months before it was announced publicly. I also knew my book didn’t fit into the line and I wasn’t willing to make the changes that the agreement (with NASCAR) stipulated. Years later, I pitched the second book in the series to Carina Press and they liked it and made an offer to publish it. My fear had been that they wouldn’t want the first book because Harlequin had rejected it years before. I later discovered that they are really their own entity and once I mentioned the first book, they also made an offer for that. All of a sudden I sold two books. After ten years of trying. Then I sold the third. And of course, this month, the fourth book is released.
The thing is… I never quit writing. I kept pumping out the words and the stories and when I finally sold one, I really sold four. Except who knows how many I’ll sell by the time I’m old and senile? Hopefully enough to fill a bookshelf or two.
My point is, if you want it badly enough, you will get it. If I’d wanted to act badly enough, I’d have kept up with my acting class. I’d have gone to casting workshops and made all those tortuous trips across town in horrible Los Angeles traffic just to smile for the camera, tell them my name and drive back home. I’d have put up with the rejection of not getting a part because I was too old, too young, too skinny, too fat or too whatever.
I’ll admit I was at the end of my rope when it came to my writing. Ultimately, I couldn’t quit because my daughter was of an age where I wanted to make a point. She watched me writing all those years as she was growing up. She knew the amount of time and effort I put into it. If nothing else, I had to prove to her that if you work hard enough, you can and will get what you want. It just often takes more time than you want.
I hope if there’s one thing you take away from this blog, it’s that anything is possible. Yes, timing and luck work into the writing business, too, but even after eight years, my first published book found its window. You can find your window too.
So, I’m curious, what’s your perseverance story. What were you determined to do and after hard work, you accomplished it?
Dee wants to know your perseverance story and will give a copy of Danger Zone to a lucky commenter.
Living in the spotlight can be murder.
Julie Fraser, Hollywood’s newest “it” girl, arrives on the red carpet to more than just the flashes of the paparazzi’s cameras. A sniper’s shots leave her bleeding and in the line of fire. Her life would be over if it weren’t for the bodyguard who comes to the rescue—taking a bullet in the process.
Troy Mills, a P.I. working undercover, couldn’t stand by and watch an innocent woman die, but now he’s torn. How can he tell her that he’s not a bodyguard, but a P.I.? A P.I. hired to prove that Julie is sleeping with the movie producer he’s pretending to protect.
When a second attempt is made on Julie’s life, Troy realizes that keeping her safe is more important than any supposed affair. And in order to keep her safe, he’ll have to keep her close. But desire and danger are hot on Julie’s heels. Who could have guessed that protecting an A-list actress would not only put Troy’s life in jeopardy, but his heart as well?
Dee J. grew up in El Paso, Texas and moved to Los Angeles after graduation. She worked in television and commercials for over twenty years both in front of the camera as an actor, and behind the scenes as a dialogue coach. Along with her love of acting, she discovered a love for writing and is the author of the Adrenaline Highs series from Carina Press. She narrated the last three books of the series for Audible. She lives in Southern California with her husband, teenage daughter and two rescued dogs. You can visit Dee on her website at www.deejadams.com