“I can do this.”

In July of 2012, I found a local ACFW group and in August attended my first meeting. The president invited me to join them at the annual conference being held in Dallas the next month.

I like people but I’m an introvert. I’m a writer who, most often, communicates much better on paper with the option of editing my words than verbally communicating where words cannot be extricated from the air or altered once released from the cavernous mouth.

So, what did I say to the invitation that would include riding in a van all the way to Texas with complete strangers? I said, “Sure! I have to discuss it with my husband but I’d love to go!”

And afterward, I was kicking myself and had to give myself a pep talk.

“I can do this,” I thought. I’ve been on various church trips. I’ve attended women’s conferences. It couldn’t be worse. Or could it? Maybe my husband would advise against it.

He didn’t.

So I registered. I paid for a hotel. I made the necessary arrangements for my family while I was gone and prepared to make the best of the situation. No matter what.

And I’m glad I went.

The camaraderie between the ladies, the respect and consideration they showed me, as well as each other astounded me.

At the conference, I met new people; people who were not just writers but were fiction writers. Hours culminated into euphoric days as I connected with people who spoke the same language, shared the same challenges, and understood the journey of storytelling. I learned new things in the workshops and I had a great time!

The best though was pitching the revised version of the same novel that was taken to Denver and both an agent and an editor was impressed enough that they asked me to send the full manuscript when I returned home.

Unfortunately, once home I tried to contact the agent to inquire about the best way to send the manuscript to her and she must have been abducted by aliens or fallen into a sinkhole or been snatched by zombies because there was no response. None. Even after several attempts. Perhaps she had a sudden change of heart or she got fired. I still don’t know what happened.

Still hopeful, I sent the manuscript to the editor who had requested it and while she had good things to say, she ultimately did not believe it fit their needs.

I know this is the moment where most writer’s cry or become defensive or have some other sort of meltdown.

I simply shrugged it off.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have been elated if the manuscript had been accepted but it wasn’t; not because of poor writing and not for the lack of trying. Therefore, I tried again. By the end of the year, I was ready to send another query and once again the manuscript was rejected. However, the agent sent the nicest rejection a writer could hope for; saying that she liked the premise but hadn’t fallen in love with the sample pages and because it was a subjective business, I should keep trying to find representation. As crazy as this sounds to most people, I will cherish this rejection as long as I live.