A writer’s life is filled with some highs, lots of lows and even more waiting around in between. The glacial movement of the publication process can be frustrating, especially for doers like me.

When I began the writing journey two years ago, the only thought in my head was whether or not it was possible for me to finish a novel and have the story make sense. I gave little consideration to what comes after.

I didn’t know I would spend a year querying agents and editors, attending meetings, reading and learning about the craft of writing and rethinking the work until I could barely look at it again without feeling a dead weight in the pit of my stomach.

But that is, indeed, what happened.

Big Idea Rocket

Frustration spurs creativity
The greatest source of my frustration during this period was how difficult it was to be heard and seen in such a crowded marketplace. Ironically, this led to renewed inspiration. I wondered: What could I write that would make me stand out from the crowd? What is the hardest story to tell?

My brain fired back–one that contains humor and is told mostly in dialogue. I happened to be watching Gilmore Girls with my daughter at the time, which contains a lot of face-paced, witty scenes. I’d also just read, Bet Me, by Jennifer Cruise, and the idea for Charmed By Charlie was born.

A star is born
It would be an office romance with several colorful side characters. Charlie, the hero, would be a flirt and a creative genius. Val, the heroine, would be a math whiz, who is wary of charmers due to a bad experience. There would be a mystery to solve–someone is embezzling money from the firm–which can only be resolved by the hero and heroine joining forces. Val would have to confront and adjust her prejudices about Charlie. Charlie would need to give up his freedom-loving ways for Val.

The first chapter wrote itself, and every chapter since has rolled fluidly from my keyboard onto my iPad. I began sharing chapter installments with several beta readers who were enthusiastic about the work. Write faster, they told me.

I, too, want to write faster. I, too, want to know what will happen next.

Last week, I flew into Phoenix for the Desert Dreams conference, where I met with two agents. I had intended to pitch my paranormal romantic suspense series, Mind Hackers. But a few weeks ago, I signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for Mind Waves, the first book in the series, and as a result, neither of the agents were interested in that world. So, I pitched Charmed By Charlie instead, and both agents I spoke with asked for sample chapters.

One of my critique partners suggested I enter the first few chapters into the long contemporary category of the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Writers Contest. On Monday, I learned that Charmed By Charlie was a finalist in that category. Winners will be announced on May 21. I couldn’t be more excited.

When the going gets tough
Sometimes, when we feel like giving up, we just have to keep going. We have to ignore the naysayers (we all have them) and the little voices in our head that keeps us from going after what we love. We have to use the roadblocks in our way as fuel to take a different stance, look at the world a bit differently, and try something new.

It could be our greatest hurdle will produce our next big idea.