Recently I was musing about my writing career. I’ve been fortunate to have published almost 60 books. While I’m not likely to make the New York Time Best Seller List with my Love Inspired romances, I’m pleased with my ‘body of work.’ (My actual ‘body’ needs considerably more work. <g>)
How have I succeeded? Determination.
When I was as yet unpublished, my first agent called to tell me my latest submission had been rejected. That rejection was not my first nor my last. She went on to say, “Older women can’t write love scenes.”
Huh? I wasn’t that old; at least my long-term memory was excellent, and I have always been blessed with a really good imagination.
I remained polite until we hung up. Then I said aloud, “Watch me!”
Subsequently, I managed to author more than 40 books for various Harlequin secular lines – most included a love scene or two.
I come by my determination naturally. Or perhaps it comes from my mother, who when told in business school that she didn’t type fast enough to get a job, she simply went out and got a job.
When I was about four-years-old, my older brother and his friend were playing with their toy soldiers. Digging trenches. Leading tank attacks. Shouting ‘bang’ you’re dead.
Naturally, I wanted to play too. I had my own collection of lead soldiers. My brother was used to having me tag along; not so his friend Skipper. To get rid of me, Skipper offered to buy me a lead soldier (the plastic ones were boring) if I would dig a hole to China.
That sounded like a good idea to me. But I hadn’t been born yesterday. I asked Skipper to be more specific about the depth of the hole I was to dig. He found a stick that was maybe two or three feet long to use as a measure. So off I went to dig the prescribed hole.
In a matter of an hour or two I was back to play with my brother and Skipper. Poor Skipper procrastinated about getting me the promised soldier until finally my mother intervened.
That’s what DETERMINATION gets you – your goal.
What are you Determined to achieve?
Books that leave you smiling...
Montana Love Letter, Love Inspired, 10/2012
Montana Home Coming, Love Inspired, Spring 2013
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What am I determined to achieve? Publication. Shorter term? A completed first draft before I take a just-for-me road trip to PA and Toronto mid July through TBD. To achieve that, I must get my butt out of this chair to charge my brain with some cardio then head to MY SBUX to write.
There are lofty big picture goals, too numerous to mention.
LOVE the article, your insistence on a measurable goal at that young age, and refusal to accept that "older women" comment. Oh, yeah? Watch me! Not sure about the spelling, but I'm with you on PHLPHLPHLPHLPHL.
Way to go, Gloria. Determination works. Keep at it. Char......
Char, your determination is an inspiration to more people than you know. Your helping hand up has helped me more than once. Hey, we live long enough and don't quit - we're BOUND to get somewhere, right?!
It's always my pleasure to help when I can, especially someone as talented and determined as you, Laura. BTW, I don't know who added the struggling snail (perfect image) or 'little Charlotte' digging a hole, but I love 'em both! Char......
I did, Char. I wish there was a career for choosing photos to go with writing - I just LOVE doing that! (I'm the snail, by the way. You're the determined little miner.)
Ooooh! You just LOVE doing that? I may be DMing you the next time I do a glob.
No problem. Really. I like to make people happy.
Sweetie, your 'snail' has picked up a lot of steam lately.
Thanks for this great post, Charlotte. Yeah, that "older" woman thing will bring out the snark in many of us. Then we might remember that to some "older" could be anyone over the age of reason ... or is that forty something?
Stubborn, hard-headed, determination is the main ingredient to success in any career. In writing it might be the most important. Beyond the obvious of telling a story someone wants to read, writers face a greater degree of rejection and need to continuously remind themselves ... this is part of what we signed on for. You are an inspiration to anyone who believes it will never happen.
The rejection part of writing is hard to handle, but the good news is that a rejection isn't about 'you.' It's about the writing/topic/we just published similiar story/editor having a bad hair day or any other quirk of the business. Char.....
Good for you, Charlotte, for not listening to that first agent and stymying your career. I admire your determination. Thanks for the encouragement.
It's true esp. in this book business you must be determined. When family & friends told me everyone writes a book and how could I possibly think that I even had a sliver of a chance at being published, Little did they know they'd waved a red flag in my face. When I sold the 1st romance they "still" waved it off--there's no pleasing some people. One person even asked when I was going to write a "real" book. 🙁 I just smiled and deposited the check in the bank. There will always be nay-sayers no matter what we set out to do. But I agree with you, Char. Determination is key to taking home the prize.
So true, Sharla. Hope you're still just as determined as you've always been. You're a good writer! I want to see your name out there in lights.
Great post. When asked in the interviews for my virtual book tour what advice I'd give to aspiring writers, that's exactly what I say - determination. Don't ever give up. Pursue your dream - whatever it may be - to be pubbed or not, whatever.
Patti, determination - and pure stubbornness - really help! Char.......
My 'determination' last 22 years. Many said it is my stubborn Scottish genes, but I prefer perseverance. 🙂 Christmas Eve, 2011, I got an email with an offer for five of my stories. WOOHOO I could hardly breathe for the longest times. I'd made it - not with a story, but five. My first book in the Paradise Pines Series, Night Angel, will be released August 21st. i got the first look at the cover of my first book on my birthday. Maybe being stubborn isn't so bad after all. It's kinda nice. 🙂
Woohoo Paisley. How wonderful. You go girl!! 😉
Way to Go, Paisley. It feels so good to sell that first book. Now all you have to do is write five more. Char.......
What an awesome story, Charlotte! Determination is definitely the key (and I don't think you're ever too old to write a love scene--that is ridiculous!)
I am determined to write my next book and the one after that and the one after that, etc... etc... etc... I am determined to grow as an author and meet each goal I continue to set for myself.
Keep up the great work!
Yay, Charlotte! Success is the best revenge 🙂
I love this post. Nothing like someone saying you can't do something to fire up your determination. Works everytime for me. Good for you showing the editor you could do it!
Ruby, I wonder how many people, particularly women, have been goaded on to success by someone telling them they couldn't do it. Must be milliions! Char....
Great post. I've said various places, I'm soooo glad I didn't have enough sense to realize how tough this business was. I'm afraid, I might not have jumped in. That would be sad. I'd have missed out on meeting some really super people. While not yet pubbed after 5 books and going on 6 years of writing, taking classes, attending conferences, etc, I'm hanging in there, and I'm getting better. Some of us just develop at a slower rate. 🙂 As to age,I always wonder what the younger folks have to write about. Not to mention, how do they find the time? 🙂 I have a lot of admiration for these younger writers juggling kids, spouses, and sometimes other jobs plus writing. I couldn't have done it then. Thanks for the encouragement, Char. (both Chars 🙂 ) not to let go our our dreams.
Colleen McCullough (sp?), author of Thorn Birds, once said she hadn't had anything to say until she turned 40. My favorite is the author - whose name I can't remember - who wrote Ladies of the Club, a period story around 1910, at the age of 82! There's a lot of time left for us, folks. Char......
Excellent! I had this very conversation with my kid this past week. I said, "We are not quitters. We are not giving up." My challenge is a writing career and his is something else, but I want my children to learn that determination is important to success.
The only 'sure' way not to sell is to quit writing. Or in your children's case, quit trying whatever it is he/she wants to do. Char......
Good on you Char! Way to show 'em!!
Yes, when I was a much younger writer, I showed my tutor the book I was working on. Her sage advice? "You need to go out and LIVE your life first, and then write." I remember being hurt and dumbfounded at the time, but it's only now that I'm in my dotage that I understand what she was trying to say. We more mature writers have a wealth of experience to share.
The Japanese define 'intelligence' as 'persistence'. I can say I have persisted to the best of my ability.
What am I determined to achieve? Sharing my stories with a worldwide audience one day and having the freedom and the joy of writing fantastic fiction for children as my way of life. Thanks for asking!
Yvette, while I think it's true that experiencing life enhances your writing, I'm amazed by the talented younger writers I meet and read. Their voices enrich us all - and I 'hate' that they're so talented. LOL
What an inspiring post! Good for you for digging in and not letting that agents comment (seriously?!) get you down. I think romance writers sometimes get a bad rap, but I don't care WHAT you write - publishing 60 books means you've more than got the chops. Thanks for sharing your story with us:)
Thanks, Stacy. I keep chopping away - and sometimes digging an unintended hole for myself. Char......
As a woman over 50 and divorced, I think I still have a love scene or four left in me. If nothing else, I have a great imagination. Now all I have to do is get past my procrastination.
[...] Charlotte Carter was at Writers In The Storm this week: Determination [...]
Such a great inspiration you are! Thanks for sharing.