The desire to write gnawed at me for years. My closest friend was writing a book about her life in India, and I was inspired by her persistence and enthusiasm. She encouraged me to put pen to paper and begin!
The first words were dreadful – a sappy romance with no substance and a ton of grammar problems. Then, real-life bore down on us. We had amassed a mountain of debt and had few solutions to climb out of the hole. We needed to do something drastic. So, we sold all of our possessions – every fork, every towel, every stick of furniture, paid down the debt and bundled up our backpacks, and left on a two-year exploration of Central America with our two young daughters.
For the sake of remembering all that we had done, I recorded our adventure in blog posts that I sent home to friends and family. We had hiked, swum, ziplined, kayaked, camped, spelunked, climbed mountains, and peered into bubbling volcanoes. We had made cheese and chocolate, saved sea turtles, and studied monkeys in the wild. We had also weathered blisters from ant bites and bacterial infections. We crossed dilapidated bridges, rode in vegetable trucks, and stayed overnight in the jungle with an Indigenous family.
Back home in Canada, I compiled all the blog entries into chapters. After researching the market, I realized that although there are thousands of blogs about travelling with kids, there are few full-length memoirs. I devoted my time to learning how to write. I had the raw material from the blog posts, but I needed to piece it all together. I read everything I could about writing, such as OnWritingWell, by William Zinsser and Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.
I wrote dozens of articles on travelling with children to build up my platform and learn how to properly submit queries. On my 67th attempt, I secured a publisher. The entire experience was a huge learning curve, but so worthwhile. I now have the confidence to keep writing and the know-how about preparing a proposal for a publisher.
Writers who want to be published should never give up. Keep plugging away. It will happen.