When I graduated college in the summer of 2007, I had an idea for a novel. It was about a family of four siblings who couldn’t stand to be in the same room together, who had to band together when their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
I was so terrified to be writing a novel that I told almost no one about it. Over the next two years, I wrote a whole draft – about 250 pages.
I knew it could be better, but I wasn’t sure how to make it better. So in 2011, I started an MFA program through Fairfield University.
In my first semester, I threw out basically my whole draft and started over with the same characters and the same story.
Then, in my final semester, I rewrote the book from the beginning. Again.
I finished the novel and found the perfect title: Catchlight. I sent out queries to more than 150 agents. I rewrote some parts of the book and queried even more agents (including one I’d met at a networking event).
I submitted the manuscript for contests and prizes.
And after years of effort, I put the book away. I wanted to devote my energy to a new book.
On a whim, I submitted Catchlight for the Fairfield Book Prize last fall.
And I won.
The prize is $1,000 and a publishing contract with Woodhall Press. Catchlight will be released in the fall of 2020.
It’s been a 12-year journey to get this book into the world.
So let me ask you this: where do you need to persist today?
Where are you expecting instant gratification?
What dream matters enough to you that you’ll work toward it for 12+ years?
July 12, 2019