Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Writing isn’t for wimps or what I learned during in my journey … by Pat Nichols


If you're just starting out in the business of writing, you'll soon learn that there's a lot to learn. Pat Nichols shares some of her experience. 

Lesson one: 

Nine years after retiring from the corporate world the loss of a close family friend inspired me to write a story loosely based on her life. Why not? I loved to read and thanks to my career I had plenty of experience writing business letters, training materials, even some newspaper articles. So, I opened my laptop and typed chapter one. A year later I finished the manuscript with images of publication dancing in my head. 


 A close friend and published author edited my work. Yikes. I discovered I’d made dozens of novice mistakes. POV issues, weasel words, tell versus show to name a few. Decision time. Give up, write as a hobby, or study the craft. I chose the latter and became a student while re-writing that first manuscript and beginning a second. 

Lesson two:

With two completed manuscripts in hand, I attended an ACFW conference prepared to pitch to publishers and agents, confident I would return home with a contract in hand. After all, I had applied everything I had learned. Instead, I encountered the reality of rejection. 

Disappointed, but not deterred, a new idea emerged. A multi-book series about three women, strangers from diverse backgrounds whose lives are united by tragedy and a long-held secret. Time to write my third manuscript. 

Lesson three: 

In March 2019, eighteen months after signing an LPC contract for The Secret of Willow Inn, I was deep into writing Willow Falls series book three. The second book had been edited and approved for an early 2020 release. All we needed was a title and back cover copy. 

Then in one heart-wrenching moment, everything screeched to a halt. 

My managing editor moved on to new horizons and the new editor informed me the manuscript needed one, perhaps two additional substantive edits. My first reaction? Disbelief. Followed by frustration. 

I reached out to my publisher, thinking he would approve the first edited version. That’s when I faced a big dose of reality—both editors had valid points. The plot for book two was solid, however the story needed major revisions. I swallowed my pride and with Eddie Jones’ expert guidance tackled the task. By mid-summer, the re-write was finished, the manuscript was edited, the release date was moved up, and I received an LPC contract for Willow Falls series book three.

Those three incidents proved the most valuable in my writing career. I learned that feedback from Beta readers, critique partners, and editors is invaluable and must be taken to heart. Also, a successfully published debut novel doesn’t guarantee subsequent success. Rather it sets a bar an author must strive to surpass. Each new manuscript should improve over the last to illustrate growth and maturity as a writer. Finally, confidence laced with a healthy dose of humility, and the willingness to continue studying the craft are essential ingredients in a successful writing journey.

...essential ingredients in a successful writing journey. via @PatNichols16 #SeriouslyWrite



Retired from a twenty-seven-year corporate career, Pat Nichols is proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. She draws on her experience in seven different management positions working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life to create stories about women facing tension-laced challenges and heart-warming triumphs in the pursuit of their dreams. Her debut novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, is a 2020 Selah Award finalist, debut novel category. Willow Falls series book two, The Trouble in Willow Falls, released November 2019. Star Struck in Willow Falls is scheduled for release February 2, 2021.


Willow Falls 

Three Strangers … Emily Hayes, an aspiring novelist, desperate to transform her dying
hometown into a tourist destination. Rachel Streetman, raised in Atlanta, relegates her acting dream to secret performances for imaginary audiences to live the life her father chose. Sadie Liles grapples to find a new normal after serving a thirty-year prison sentence for killing the town hero. 

Drawn together by tragedy, a long-held secret, and one man’s mission to plant a vineyard, they experience the power of forgiveness, sacrifice, and redemption while joining Willow Falls’ quirky, opinionated residents to face the past and accept the truth.    

A shocking, heart-warming conclusion that leaves readers yearning to stay connected with characters who have become friends in a town that captures their imagination.

Links to first two Willow Falls books:

Other links: