It seems the web is full of blog posts from people who sat down, dashed off a first or second draft of their book, happened to open Twitter, noticed a pitch session going on that day, crafted a tweet in 15 minutes, posted it, got “liked” by an agent, sent in their manuscript, and signed within a week.

Umm.

It definitely wasn’t like that for me.

How I wrote and sold my memoirOf course, during all those years of rejections, I fought the fear that my writing wasn’t good enough and I would never get published.

It’s tempting to believe, “If I were really talented, I wouldn’t have to work so hard for my genius to be appreciated.”

But many studies, as well as my exceedingly wise writing teacher, Theo Nestor, have said that it’s not the most talented writers who get the publishing contracts — it’s the ones who don’t give up.

Good news for me. I’m the poster child for dogged determination. I first started writing my memoir in 1999. I started taking writing classes in 2014. I didn’t complete the first draft of the memoir until 2017.

I wrote query letters. I crafted a proposal. I wrote and revised loglines, synopses, and twitter pitches. I researched agents. I pitched and rewrote the pitches.

In November 2018, after dozens of revisions and 35 rejections, I signed with an agent. By the end of the month, I had four offers for my memoir, Flying Free, the story of how a timid child used math to overcome bullies and her own fears to become a champion pilot.

The 7 Stages of Memoir Writing

In the following series of biweekly posts (Tues/Thurs), I’ll break down how I got there in what I call the 7 Stages of Memoir Writing:

  1. Wanting to write
  2. Writing first draft
  3. Revising and research
  4. Querying
  5. More querying
  6. Agent representation and book deal
  7. Editing and publication

The next post will be live Thursday, June 27, 2019. See you then!

×