I can’t believe it! Jen’s Pen Den has been up and running for a year!
So, I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you about why I started Jen’s Pen Den. It wasn’t because I was bored, or curious, or eager to the take the next step in building my author platform. It was because I was on the verge of quitting. Of giving up on writing all together.
Last August, I was in a low, low place. The option contract on my YA manuscript had expired months before, and my attempts to find new representation had failed. Everyone who passed on it kept telling me the same thing: “We like it, but we don’t love it.”
In other words, “It’s meh”.
AKA, “You’re a meh writer”.
AKA, “You suck, your writing sucks, and you’ll never be good enough to succeed in this business.”
Suffice it to say, I was devastated. I stopped writing and contemplated what I should do. I didn’t want to give up–that’s not in my nature–but what else could I do? Start a new book? Ha! Why? I was a “meh” writer. Why spend a billion hours on a book that was just going to get the same lukewarm reactions from agents and publishers?
Because you love writing, a stubborn inner voice reminded me.
I battled myself for months. I didn’t know what to do. Start writing a new book? Or start looking for a new career? Fight for my dreams? Or throw in the towel? Punch and kick and scream? Or crumple up and cry?
Solution: Start a blog.
I had no idea what blogging was or how to run one, and I had no idea if starting one would help me climb out of the black pit I’d fallen into. But I had to try. I had to do something. I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams yet.
It was one of the best decisions of my life.
In essence, my blog saved me. Within a few weeks of starting Jen’s Pen Den, I climbed out of the black pit I’d tumbled into. Hope returned–slowly but surely–and I gradually rose up and struck back at those vicious doubts inside of me. “Give up, give up, give up!” soon turned into “Fight, fight, fight!” I entered writing contests, started a new book, wrote a short story, and finally had the strength to tear up my old YA manuscript and start over completely.
Now, almost a year later, I’m happier and more passionate than I’ve ever been about writing. I’ve kicked all of those ugly doubts in the butt and knocked them down for good.
One of the main reasons I’ve been able to fight back is because of you guys. You helped raise me up out of that black pit with your friendships, encouragements, and long distance cheerleading. I can’t thank you enough for your support.
…I’m not crying. I’m not!
Out of curiosity, I went to my stats page and looked up the top ten posts of the year. If you’d like to check them out, here you go!
Top Ten Posts
- The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel: Advice from Literary Agents
- How Do You Share Backstory Information
- Chasing Monsters – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge Entry
- About Jen
- Stop the presses. Literacy isn’t important. Technology is
- “Muck and Mire” – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction 2013
- Into Paradise – Final Round Entry – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge
- Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
- Jen’s Pen
- Over The Edge – 2nd Round Entry – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge
Thanks again for all of your awesome support. Here’s to another year of blogging and writing!
Photo credits: giphy