Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What I Learned in My First Year as a Published Writer by Morgan L. Busse

Morgan L. Busse
Since this post was scheduled, I am so pleased to add that Morgan L. Busse's book, Daughter of Light, has been nominated for the Christy Award in the Visionary category. Please join us in congratulating Morgan on this awesome achievement! 
~ Angie

Three things I have learned my first year as a published writer

It’s hard to believe I’m approaching my first year as a published writer. This journey has felt like a roller coaster: with a lot of ups and downs, moments of panic, and wondering if the world will stop spinning. Looking back, here are three things I learned during the ride:
  1. Not everyone is going to like your book. Ouch. I knew that, but it is different when you experience it. It took some time to get over the fact that not everyone would enjoy my work, whether because of style differences, genre differences, etc. But I learned to move on. After all, I don’t enjoy everything I read either, and I should allow people their differences.
  2. Don’t read your reviews. That was a hard one for me to learn. I could have 12 positive reviews and one negative one and guess which one I would focus on? Yep. It’s like having a stain on your favorite shirt. No matter how much you try to ignore it and not let it get under your skin, your eyes keep coming back to it. Finally after a couple months, I decided not to look at my reviews at all. I figured reviews were there for the readers anyway, not for me. I had written the book to the best of my ability. That’s about all a person can do. Once I stopped looking at my reviews, I found peace.
  3. It’s not so much about developing tough skin as it is about guarding your heart. I never liked the idea of developing tough skin. It felt like that I was hardening my heart as well. And since I write from my heart, I couldn’t let that grow hard or the soul of my writing would suffer. But in letting my heart remain soft, I allowed it to be hurt.
After months of hurting, I finally asked my husband how did he deal with all the negativity in his life? As a pastor he receives a lot of criticism and yet I hardly ever saw it affect him. So he shared with me how he guarded his heart.

He imagines his heart is a castle. He only allows two voices into that castle: God and me (since I am his wife). Then there is a wall, and within the courtyard he allows the voices of his most trusted friends. Then there is a moat and there he allows friends and acquaintances.

When he shared this with me, I realized how many voices I was allowing into the very heart of me, voices that really had no business being there. And by listening to all those voices, I wasn’t hearing the ones I needed to hear.

So I put his idea into action. One day I had someone tell me I wasn’t good at grammar. I’m not. It is one of the weakest areas in my writing. But then I imagined my heart. Her voice had no business inside my castle. Yes, she was right, but I already knew that. What I didn’t need is her voice echoing around inside my heart, reminding me over and over again of that fact. Instead, I needed to acknowledge the truth of her words, but not let her over the moat.

My heart remained soft, but not damaged.

Being a writer is the hardest thing I have ever done (apart from being a parent). I will confess that if I knew it would be this hard, I would have probably given up a long time ago. But I would have also missed the joy of being creative, of sharing my heart with people, and seeing a dream come true.

How about you? If you are a writer, what have you learned on your journey? What were the struggles? How did you overcome them?
About the Author
Morgan L. Busse writes speculative fiction for the adult market. She is the author of Daughter of Light and Son of Truth, the first two books in a series from Marcher Lord Press. Morgan lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. You can find out more about Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com

Website: www.morganlbusse.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morganlbusseauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorganLBusse (@MorganLBusse)

Son of Truth
Son of Truth
by Morgan L. Busse

The war in the north is over, but the war for all the Lands has just begun. As the Shadonae solidify their hold on the city of Thyra, Rowen Mar, the last Eldaran and savior of the White City, awakens to find herself hunted by those she has saved. Meanwhile, the assassin Caleb Tala finds himself in the presence of the Word. The time of reckoning has come and he must pay the price for all the lives he has taken. But in his moment of judgment, Caleb is given a second chance to change his life. (Speculative Fiction from Marcher Lord Press).

Daughter of Light
What if with one touch you could see inside the soul?

Daughter of Light
by Morgan L. Busse
Rowen Mar finds a strange mark on her hand, and she is banished from her village as a witch. She covers the mark with a leather glove and seeks sanctuary in the White City. She lives in fear that if she touches another person, the power inside her will trigger again, a terrifying power that allows her to see the darkness inside the human heart . . .

But the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand. (Speculative Fiction from Marcher Lord Press).


  1. Thanks so much for joining us here and congratulations on being a finalist! You've got lots of great advice for us today, too. I really like the idea of your heart being a castle and that you're the gatekeeper. Great imagery!

  2. This is some awesome advice, Morgan, and I especially appreciate how your hubby used that particular image to draw you away from the negativity that writers face. Love it!

    I still suffer from occasional panic attacks, but eventually the world levels out. Only a little. :-)

    Congratulations, Morgan!

  3. Hi Dora,
    I know what you mean about panic attacks. They come to me in the form of nightmares. Before the release of my second book I was having nightmares about misspelled words or some of my scenes. It took a couple nightmares for me to start praying and giving my book to God.

    People are not perfect, and that includes writers. But a perfect God can use imperfect people in amazing things :)

  4. Well said, Morgan. Your words were a helpful reminder to me...and I've been doing this ten years now. Thanks!

  5. Congratulations, Morgan, on your nomination. How affirming! I love your metaphor of the heart as a castle. very fitting. Here's a ton of wishes for continued success.

  6. Congrats on the nomination, Morgan! Great advice for anyone dealing with negative comments, whether they're related to a person's writing or not. Thanks!

  7. Morgan

    A great thought provoking post. As Angelguard recently released I'm new to this world of reviews and such. However, I've taken the other viewpoint to read them as a means of engaging with readers. I love it on the odd occasion an author responds to my reviews, so I'm hoping readers may think similarly. Yes, it was a shock when a few reviews were scathing. But after a day or so of berating myself and "never writing again" I handed them over to the Lord and started praying for the reviewer.

    I definitely haven't got the shield fully in place yet and comments get under my skin. The Bible tells us we will get opposition and it's great having God as our protector and counsellor.

    It's lovely Morgan you mentioned your vulnerability and also your struggles with grammar. I'm in that camp too. Finding the best word and best sentence can be agonising. It's why my writing process takes so long. But amazing that we have the best thesaurus in God available to us - He's helped me out many times but usually after a bit of sweat...

    Blessings to you Morgan and congrats on the Christy nom. Fabulous achievement.


  8. Hi Ian,
    Congrats on your own release :)

    I've found writers are all different in how they handle reviews. Some people are great at reading them and gleaning something from them. Others can let them go. But after almost a year, I discovered I was one of those who couldn't read reviews.

    I have a photographic memory, and the words I read would flash across my mind over and over again, even months later, like they were tattooed to the back of my eyelids. Both the good and the bad. So I finally chose to not look at reviews anymore. That's not for everyone, but it works well for me :)

  9. Congratulations and good insights! That first year after publication certainly brings out more than basking in glory. Thanks for sharing your vulnerabilities.


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