Giving Perseverance a Break

I wrote a book.

I queried a book.

After about a year and 100 queries, I got an agent.

My agent shopped my book to lots of houses.

After some close calls and a rewrite/resubmit from Little Brown Publishing, my book didn’t sell.

My agent and I divorced.

And, as far as one of those soul crushing experiences, this was definitely up there.I felt like I’d trained for a marathon. And then, at the end of the race, within 15 feet of the goal, I fell flat on my face.

To make matters worse, a ton of my writing friends were selling their books. It was like a flash back to my days in elementary school when I was picked last for the kickball team. Everyone was making it, except for me. And as stubborn as I am, I was just plain tired.

So I took a break.

I stopped writing. I was sick of pushing. I was through with perseverance. I was ready to put my book in the trunk and give up writing. Sometimes perseverance doesn’t work. You can be the most stubborn (which I am) person, and it still sometimes it doesn’t conquer the world.

Perseverance is exhausting.

For me, at least, perseverance needed a break. I directed my creative juices in other ways. 

I guess what I’m saying is this: Don’t be afraid to step away from perseverance.  Sometimes it just needs a break. In a race, sometime you need to stop and get a drink. You need to go to the bathroom. Sometimes you just need to sleep. This doesn’t make you a failure. It also doesn’ t mean you won’t finish.

Pushing and pushing makes you tired. In the world of writing, your emotional resolve takes a beating. Find something else to refresh you creatively  Writing is HARD. Writers are constantly being rejected. We NEED other things to refresh our spirit.

For me, it was face painting  I love being creative that way. And each time I paint a child’s face, I get instant approval and positive reinforcement. I get the pat on the back that I soo very much needed in the midst of so much rejection. The expression on the children’s face fills my emotional tank. Having my face painting business helps my writing life, it helped heal my emotional scars. It gives my creative side a pat on the back when I’m being pummeled by negativity.

As as stubborn as I am, my perseverance needed to heal.

But because I let it heal, I was able to keep going. After that break, and after some of the pain of rejection subsided–a little–I dragged out my book and edited it again. And after several more submissions and more close calls, my book sold.

It is coming out this December. 🙂


The Emissary (3)

The Emissary  Dec 2013 from Month9Books)

A seventeen-year-old must defeat an ageless king and his powerful army in order to save their land from a cloud of darkness that threatens to destroy him, and those like him, who possess one of six deadly powers.

On Goodreads


Literary Love/Hate

Love HateImage Source

I am not one of those writers who wanted to write all of their lives. I’ve heard some say they knew what they wanted to do, that they poured out stories at a young age.

I did very little writing young, though I remembered writing a play for my class in 3rd grade (I believe it was about an Easter bunny). And, apart from the few required creative writing assignments in school, I didn’t write at all. I took up the mantel of writing a few years ago.

Now READING, I’ve taken very seriously my whole life. When I was little, I prompted my mom to read to me all the time. Bedtime stories were one of my favorite things. Once I learned to read on my own (the first book being Dr. Seuss), my mom could hardly drag me out of the library. And I spent many a days staying up late to finish a book, even on school nights when I was supposed to be asleep.

I went to college for music education. Before I attended college, I loved listening to classical music. Since college, it has taken me a very long time to enjoy it again. For in the study of music, I found myself taking a musical score, tearing it apart, analyzing it, and labeling it. Instead of just listening to it, I had to study each note and section. I had to write down the notes by just listening to it. I wasn’t so good at it either, and I found the process stressful and hated it.

We were also required to listen to peer performed recitals, week after week. It was called recital hour (or nap hour, to those of us who had to hear). Even to this day, I don’t relish attending classical concerts or ensembles. My college experience ruined it for me. Because of the intensity of study in music, it influenced my love of the art. To this day, I don’t love music like I used to do.

Since I’ve become a writer, it has affected my reading somewhat as well. The books I loved before, I can now see the flaws. Heck, I think I even enjoyed BAD writing before I learned the tricks of the trade. I can’t say that writing had made me turn from books the same way that studying music made me turn. But writing HAS made me much more discerning and judgmental on what I read. Now, I find myself not just falling into the writer’s world. I look at how they created it. If I enjoy a section, I try and figure out the “why”. Like I did in college, I sometimes take it apart and analyze it.

Writing has changed me.

Reading has now become more of a LOVE/HATE relationship. I can no longer enjoy a story if the writing is bad (like I used to be able to do). But, unlike my training in music, I still LOVE to read (for the most part). Even if I HATE the badly written books, becoming a writer has made me LOVE the good books all the more.


The Emissary (Coming Dec 2013 from Month 9 Books)

By: Kristal Shaff

A seventeen-year-old must defeat an ageless king and his powerful army in order to save their land from a cloud of darkness that threatens to destroy him, and those like him, who possess one of six deadly powers.

Nolan Trividar’s Resolutions

Nolan rowed even, precise strokes, moving the small boat faster than he’d ever made it go before. It clipped out on the bobbing waters, propelling Nolan as far as he’d dare go. Night was falling. It would do him little good to go far from shore.

He’d never been good at rowing; it was one of the many things his father chided him on. He’d often pointed out Nolan’s flaws, shouted at him, told him he couldn’t row his way across a mud puddle. This time, his father wasn’t there to witness his perfect strokes. His movements were too flawless, too precise, too… strange. It was something Nolan must adjust to, of course; the Shay of Precision did that to a person. He’d have to adapt to doing things too well.

His father’s voice bellowed from the boathouse, over the gentle, lapping waves. He augured with Uncle Camden about what to do with Nolan. Father wanted to send him away, while Camden wanted him to stay. Nolan stopped the oars and pulled them into the boat with shaking hands. The Shay power surged, going down his limbs and up his spine. He closed his eyes as it, once again, took over.

Nolan had anticipated the new year to be one of new beginnings, yet he hadn’t known how much would change. He’d figured he would fail the tournament, come home ordinary and powerless, and continue his life with the family’s fishing business.

Fate had different plans.

So now, Nolan was left with unexpected new year’s resolutions. Unlike past years, when he’d vowed to catch the largest fish, or when he’d planned on exploring islands or hiking to the mountain pass. This time, he had to make a choice.

  1. He could throw himself in the waves and be done with it all.
  2. He could tell his father the truth: He had gained a Shay power. But doing so would prove he’d hidden it. And anyone who did that, was as good as dead. It was law.
  3. He could pretend to be normal.

It was an obvious choice, but one that wasn’t so easy. Alone, in the middle of the sea, he could conceal it, somewhat. Out in the world, interacting with others….

Another tremor of power filled him, spilling light from his eyes, illuminating the twilight around him in a faint, blue glow.

He clenched his fists and squeezed his eyelids closed, smothering the beacon of light which gave him away. He had no other choice but to hide this secret. He must learn to control his power; his life depended on it. But that would be a lot easier said than done.


The Emissary (Coming Dec 2013 from Month 9 Books)

By: Kristal Shaff

A seventeen-year-old must defeat an ageless king and his powerful army in order to save their land from a cloud of darkness that threatens to destroy him, and those like him, who possess one of six deadly powers.