Baker’s Dozen Rules for Every Writer to Live By: Part Three
By Joanne Lewis
#3 Celebrate Your Successes, Face Your Failures
Learn as much from your successes as you do from your failures
I wrote my first novel when I was 24 years old and while a prosecutor working sex crimes and child abuse. I didn’t have an agent. A small press that has since gone out of business published the novel. While I did not sell many books, I was invited to speak on panels and did book signings. I got an agent. I was on my way. I was going to be a writing success story.
Then my agent unexpectedly passed away. Opportunities continued to arise, at least for a short time. Another small press wanted to publish a book of mine, however the novel was never released.
At this time, I’m 29 years old and feeling like my writing career would never go anywhere. I was a writing failure story.
I didn’t write throughout my thirties. Not writing gnawed at my brain but I was productive in other ways. I left the State Attorney’s Office and opened my own practice. I fell in love. But still, I didn’t write. I knew, however, that I would write in my forties.
Four days shy of my 41st birthday, I experienced a life-changing event. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After a radical hysterectomy and six months of chemotherapy, I emerged cancer free and ready to write. I was determined to be published again.
Nine years later with five published books and over 25,000 copies sold in 2013, I have learned as much from my successes as I have from my failures. Without both, I wouldn’t be the writer—no, I wouldn’t be the person—I am today.