Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Guest author Katrina Spencer: Get Happy

Katrina Spencer is the author of Six O’Clock and her next novel, Unbeweaveable, will hit stores summer of 2010. To learn more about this former hairdresser who started writing on a dare, visit her website at katrinaspencer.com.

Imagine the scene. You’re in the mall. Your child is throwing the worst temper tantrum.

“What is the problem?” you ask them.

“I’m sad,” they cry.

“For what? I just bought you the new (video game, Barbie, Tonka truck—insert appropriate toy here), and you’re in here acting a fool. If you don’t stop crying I’m going to take back that toy.”

This makes them cry harder.

“Don’t take my toy away! I want it!”

“You better fix your attitude then. Get happy.”

They sniffle and wipe their face. They look up at you and smile.

“See? I’m happy now.”

I shake my head at how easy it is for children to get happy. Their happiness can be commanded at will—one minute they're crying, the next, they're laughing.

For the last month I’ve been in a real funk over my writing career. My first book got published—the first book I’ve ever written—got published. The reviews were few, but good, so it really challenged me to keep going, to keep reaching for other stories to tell. I worked two years on another novel—what I deemed my break-out noveland the only thing it broke was my heart. No one wanted it. My rejection letters had handwritten notes scribbled on the bottom saying, “Good characters, emotional story, but inappropriate topic, too sad. No one wants to read sad books anymore.”

Getting a stack of rejections like this was devastating. With no contract on the horizon, I did what I do best—I complained.

“This was supposed to be the book where I get my agent! This was supposed to be my break-out novel!”

“It happens when it happens,” my husband said. “Write another book.”

And I did. I wrote another book and sold it with just a synopsis.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about the novel that wouldn’t sell. I kept sending it to people and it kept getting rejected. My husband rubbed my back and listened as I tearfully told him how important that book was to me, and how it would never see the light of day.

“And if it doesn’t? What then?”

“I’ll be sad!”

“You have a book coming out this summer. You’re working on yet another novel. You have a beautiful family. You have so many blessings, Katrina. Just get happy.”

It didn’t happen overnight.

I had to write a list down of everything I had.

When I wrote the list of everything I didn’t have (writing-related) I was surprised by how short the list was.

I’m an author. I’M AN AUTHOR!

My dream had come true. But did I focus on that? No, I was too busy looking at the never was, the never had, and the almost.

But, hot dog, I’M AN AUTHOR!

I sniffled and wiped my face.

I smiled.

And I got happy.


Liane Spicer said...

Good advice, Katrina. Every now and then when I'm down in the dumps I have to remind myself to count my blessings as well. Works like as charm.

Phyllis Bourne said...

I also have to remind myself not to let things I can't control get me down.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Wow! Your description of the child's behaviour hit so close to home, I was wondering if you saw me and my kid at the mall (lol). That is a great bit of advice. I have to constantly remind myself that happiness should be inspite of, not because of.

Katrina said...

Thanks for chiming in guys!
Jewel, your child got you too? My last trip to the mall was a nightmare!