Posted by: Judy | June 20, 2012

Becoming a writer…

…or becoming Laurel Hawkes.

Those who know my history know why I chose a pen name. Laurel Hawkes was a shield to protect me.

I wrote a Christian Regency romance. It was the romance I wanted to read.

I submitted it.

It was rejected.

I was crushed.

I joined the local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter, Desert Rose. I enjoyed writing. I enjoyed associating with other writers. I didn’t really believe I’d ever be published. Once a month, I socialized with other people who understood what it was like to live with characters nagging you night and day, taking stories in their own direction or secondary characters demanding stories of their own. Once a month, I talked writing.

Because I’d written a complete story and submitted it to a publisher and been rejected, I qualified for PRO status. Most people didn’t know.Β This was back in 2007.

My closest friends knew. No one else.

I kept writing, because not writing was not an option.

Being published was something others encouraged me to do. I didn’t really believe it would happen. My stories are a little outside the formula. Not a lot, but enough to be noticeable, and little less desirable by the mainstream publishers.

In 2009, I entered the rejected story in a contest. It didn’t do particularly well, but the judges gave me some great feedback.

I still didn’t really believe my books would be published. It was a fantasy, nothing more.

In 2011, my work world changed.


  1. I didn’t know that characters did that, what do you do when that happens?

    • Usually, it’s easier if I shut and let them tell their story.

      This isn’t any kind of DID, i.e., multiple personality, because I’m very aware of the characters. They can be distracting, but I’m always in charge, sort of. πŸ™‚ If I try to force my characters to go my way, I usually have to do a re-write. I think my characters simply reflect my ability to see the world from different perspectives.

      My first counselor encouraged me to explore every possible reply my NM might give me in an interaction, so I would be prepared with some sort of answer rather than freezing. With writing, I’ve taken the “what if” game to a whole new level.

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean that they DID it literally, I understood you weren’t talking about multiple personality πŸ™‚ I suppose once you create a character and secondary characters come into the picture the possibilities are endless, almost like “The Never ending story”. I love your counselor’s idea of exploring different replies.

        • No need to apologize. I was fairly certain you understand that, but I didn’t want anyone to accidentally go there. The clarification about DID is something my sister and I discuss at length.

          It really is the Never Ending Story. πŸ™‚ A good thing.

  2. Hmmm… your story about how you began writing, submitted it, failed and kept writing…it reminds me of ‘Laura Ingals Wilder’s’ story. The little girl (real author, who’s books inspired the show) in little house on the prairie. She was a student in a college, who had the desire to write. She submitted her first story, and the editors wanted to change EVERYTHING. She rejected THEM, and tried to find another publisher. She was rejected in some way at every turn, until… Now, you will find every one of her books in libraries, the re-runs of each tear-packed show are STILL running. Mrs. Wilder has since, passed.

    You remind me of her, in your strength, determination and FAITH! I swear I hadn’t read this post before I wrote mine. Kind of goes together, don’t they?

    • Yes it does. Glad to be sharing the journey with you.

      I love Little House! πŸ™‚

  3. Believing in yourself is tough when nobody did growing up. I think you are awesome. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. πŸ™‚

  4. I really miss the characters when I have finished a good book. To me that is the sign of a talented author.
    I have heard it said by authors that their characters lead them. You must really miss them when you have finished a story.
    You must be a born writer to carry on after a rejection. I am really looking forwards to reading your book ((Judy))
    Molly x

    • Thanks ((Molly)) I haven’t actually had to say goodbye to any of my characters just yet, at least that’s what I tell myself. The end of this week, the final edits go back. I try not to think about it. The heroes tend to hunt me down on facebook and pester me, which is kind of fun. I found it easier to let them hash out their worries amongst themselves. It’s a process I learned from one of my LOTR friends. πŸ™‚

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