Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Blog with Myra Johnson, pt. 2

I have my good friend and author Mary Connealy to thank for the existence of Where the Dogwoods Bloom. A couple of years ago, when I was still a struggling yet hopeful unpublished novelist, she suggested I come up with a story that might fit with an idea she wanted to submit for Heartsong’s contemporary state series. As it turned out, another author’s proposal was chosen for the state we were aiming for, so I laid my half-written manuscript aside, hoping someday I’d find the right home for it.

Then in the fall of 2008, when JoAnne Simmons accepted Autumn Rains as the first of three Missouri contemporaries, I already had a story in the works that fit nicely as book two (Romance by the Book), but I had to quickly come up with a third idea to fill out the series. With just a little tweaking I was able to change the setting of my unfinished manuscript to a rustic inn on Lake of the Ozarks—which actually suited both the story and the characters so much better.

One factor of writing success I’ve discovered is the value of inventory. While waiting for that first contract offer, I just kept writing. My filing cabinet drawers are jammed with manuscript drafts, research material, planning notes . . . and rejection letters.

It wasn’t my first, or second, or even tenth book manuscript that finally sold. And my first book contract wasn’t even for the first manuscript I proposed to that editor. By having an inventory of completed manuscripts (several of which had garnered contest awards), I had something else to offer. After looking over a few of my other story summaries, the editor asked to see the manuscript that fit best into her planned list. Only a few weeks later, I was signing a contract.

The lesson here is that no work a writer does is ever wasted effort. Every manuscript we write is a learning experience, every rejection a reason to improve and try again. The same could be said for any goal or dream. Keep learning, keep producing, and keep trusting in God’s perfect timing.

Question of the Day: Are you a saver or a thrower? Do you have some clutter around the house that you'd like to get rid of or are you pretty good about purging your possessions and keeping things streamlined?


  1. Great story, thanks for sharing.
    All I gotta say is:!

    I've not only cleaned up my clutter, but I've followed her simple solutions in getting my house in order, and we're just now implementing the strategies into our work routines.

    I'm a thrower, however, you woulnd't be able to tell with all the stuff I'm staring at that's sitting on my desk right now, lol
    time to clean!

  2. I'm pretty streaky with the throwing and keeping. I keep until I can't stand the clutter, then have a grand throw out. :)