By K.L. Hallam
Writing, writing and more writing.
I did it every day. I woke early as possible to savor those few quiet hours of my day job before customers came clamoring for coffee. I woke earlier on the weekends than my children did. I wrote after cooking dinner, or researched scientific details through the evening. I spent nearly every minute of every day last year writing, editing, and revising three projects while helping my college-bound dyslexic son prepare to audition for four Shakespeare plays.
Then, one week later, while I was celebrating the new release, my middle-grade science fantasy under contract with Month9Books/Tantrum was cancelled. It wasn’t just me; a total of fifty authors’ rights were reverted. The news was blasted all over social media: how the authors had been duped, some were never paid, etc. Agents ranted, warning authors about “unscrupulous publishers.” My experience had been mixed to that point but, since I didn’t have an agent, I had to hang on till the very end to learn if my rights would be returned. They were.
I have to admit that was some relief, especially after reading the horror stories from other authors. Most were afraid to speak or weren’t permitted to, due to a “non-disclosure” clause within their contracts.
I didn’t go into this blindly. I made inquires before signing with this publisher, a small publisher in the midst of becoming a mid-size publisher. They were growing and their authors seemed confident and happy with their book deals. Tantrum books were being touted as perfect for reluctant readers.
Although I was relieved at being set free from this worrisome deal, the days after gave me many “what if” moments. I wanted kids to read it, but I had to face the realization that they may never have that chance. But I kept writing and revising other works, and I searched for an agent or a new publisher.
I learned something from this, and that lesson was reinforced by another loss. I’d just returned from the funeral of a dear family member and, after reconnecting with long last family ties, I began to see everything as a gift. I’d worked so much during the last year that I’d hardly managed to eat or take care of myself. I was running on empty because all I wanted to do was write. I had to make it worthy. I had to write the best I could. It was such a focus that even my family began to take second place.
I can step back now after making the time to breathe. I’m taking the time to eat well, exercise more, and bring balance, front and center. All I wanted to do was write, but then I remembered there is more to writing than writing (if you can pry the pen/computer away from me). That’s how writers grow. That’s how we learn and create. It’s by living, fully, with love and trust. Trust in your path and its outcome.
It’s not going to be easy for me. I often see many paths, and trusting my heart when it’s full of possibilities might paralyze me. Those are the times I walk to the Hudson River and empty my head and hope for clarity.
And I trust that I’ll be healthier and a little wiser, and I’ll be able to share those experiences with my readers. I can’t wait.
K.L. Hallam loves to write surprising, suspenseful, twisty, and moody stories, or science-fiction that bends into fantasy. She’ll try writing just about anything. Her tastes are fluid and changing. One of her most favorite things is when books find her, serendipitously. As if the Book Gods dropped messages when most needed on the streets. Past lives include assistant to art directors, textile painter, illustrator, fashion stylist, model and muse for a fashion house, bartender, perfume maker, nutritional counseling, Tarot card reader, Jazz singer, Creator and host of the Singer’s Sessions Vocal Jam in NYC, and most importantly, being a mom.