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About the author . . .

A lot has happened since I set up my website and began writing full-time in 2013.  Ideas keep coming.  I still lose sleep.  And there’s more to do than I originally thought.

For one thing, I’ve grown up.  I no longer entertain ideas of a literary agent knocking on my door or a publishing house contacting me for a share of the profits.  What profits?  Am I illucinating?  I haven’t sold anything.  Yet, for the life of me, I can’t get this silly idea out of my head to give up on having a bestseller.

Before 2015 I had no idea what success meant.  From my vantage point, success always belonged to someone else.  I had been happy for other people for so long that I found it hard to put my arms around success and squeeeeeeeze.  Did I need an out-of-body experience for success to be a part of my life?

One day not too long ago, I sat in my chair (maybe I was lying in bed; I can’t remember) and behind my eyes I saw someone sitting in a crowded room signing autographs.  But it was my hand hurting like crazy.

The insane part of this dream was that Tyler Perry and Steven Spielberg were fighting for the rights to make the book into a motion picture.  Stop it!  There’s no way you can laugh harder or louder than me.

Oh, and I can’t stop there.  Think on this:  Today, I had the audacity to think Gabrielle Union might assume the role of a character in my book.  Aah, you poor thing.  Hey!  Will somebody call an ambulance—No!  Get the men in the white coats—because this girl has gone mad!!

I must be sick in the head!

I think I am.

But if you’re a writer, you understand my madness.  I feel like someone, maybe God, armed me with pen and paper, attached a night light to my baseball cap, then dropped me from a C-17 and into a muddy ditch.

There’s nothing in this ditch.  No light.  No life.  No hope.  I hear a ton of people off in the distance yelling at me to do something else.  “TRY ANOTHER PROFESSION, Donna.”  “Oh,” hee hee, “what made you want to be a writer?”  (Don’t you just loooove that question.)  Wounded writers cry above the noise, asking for help; raising their ink-stained hands through the muddy life of publication, begging and pleading for relief.

Why did God see fit to drop me in a profession that can sometimes crucify your self-esteem?  If you know the answer to that question, call me.  My carnal mind tells me that my first mission is to take everything I’ve learned from my writing experience and spill my guts.  Second, to write like my tomorrows are headed for the grave.

If that’s not enough to keep you writing until the wee hours of the morning, nothing will.

Can you imagine someone coming up to you and saying you only have six weeks to live?  What would you do with those six weeks?  Some would venture to say that the last thing they would do is sit behind a desk and peck on a keyboard.  They might want to see the world.  Can’t say I blame them.  But if I told you that I would do that, I would be saying what’s acceptable—what you want to hear.

Thank God you and I aren’t dead yet.  At least we’re not dead today.  We’re very much alive.  And as long as I have life in this old body, I want to write until I can’t see anymore.  And even then I probably would search high and low for a Braille computer so I can write that last scene and fill it with too many descriptions and passive voices.

You remember the first time you put writing off?  You were in high school.  Maybe college.  Perhaps the kids were babies, or you started that new job.  The next time you put off writing, your excuses sounded like the first.  You just rearranged the wording a bit.  And the cycle continued.

Seems there’s never enough time—never the right time.

When someone wants something from us, we have to stop what we’re doing and give them what they need.  When will you stop and start paying attention to what you need?

The dirty dishes will be there in the morning.  So will the laundry.  And so will your excuses, if you don’t begin today.

Since I committed to writing, my whole world has changed.  Everything revolves around my writing, except family emergencies, of course.  Because of this commitment, I am beginning to see success.  God is so good to me.  Patient.  Liberal with his gifts.  In spite of myself.  He has given me his stamp of approval.  What more can I ask?  I praise him all the time for his goodness.

I began by setting goals.  Some were outlandish, but hey, I had to start somewhere.  Then I scaled back my goals to something achievable, sensible.  When I experienced success with a little, I raised the stakes.  And, oh boy, you won’t believe what God did?  I’m writing for a magazine, for a company that publishes monthly devotionals, and another publisher is considering my submissions.  I finished a short story in December and it’s online.  FREE!  No sign-ins.  And I’m off and running on the second draft of my second novel.  All the while, I have three novels already started that are competing for my attention.

I had no desire to write a short story.  Matter of fact, I didn’t think I could do it.  I’m long-winded.  But you already know that.  I didn’t think it possible to reduce my words to 25,000 then to 15,000.  And please know my panic when I find a site that only allows 500 words.  I’m doomed!!

While rewriting my first short story, I remembered someone told me long ago that I should try writing a romance.  That’s not something I thought I would ever do.  “That’s how most writers get started,” they said.

Before me was a mountain I didn’t think I would ever climb.  A long-winded person needed to write a romance against her will and keep it to a precise word count and have a happy-ever-after ending.  Hmm.

After several rewrites, I did it!

In my efforts to get my novel exposed to the public, I found a website that advertises for free.  I wasn’t looking for this.  It just happened.  You can’t convince me there’s no God.  He is truly real.  This website will advertise my book for FREE!  That’s right.  For free!  You can pay $10 if you want your book placed at the head of the line.  When I saw this, I said to myself, “Well, you don’t have to tell me twice.”  I got on that bandwagon quick!!

To have a media outlet of any kind tell you that they look forward to reading your work is absolutely amazing.  Want to know what success feels like?  You just felt it.  Need to feel it again?  Start writing.  But you must know this truth about me—if no one had ever said a mumbling word, I would still be writing.  I would have simply written my book and placed it in the hands of those I love and those who “tolerate” me then continued on.  That’s how bad I want to write.

I have yet to finish my ultimate goal, though—to complete my family saga entitled “White Castle.”  It’s my dream to get that baby into the hands of my readers soon.  It’s one of those stories that won’t let go of me.  Some have been turned off by it because it sounds like an old slave master story or that it has a black-against-white racial storyline.  The setting is in the year 2000 and it never reflects back to the 1800s.  However, you would have to invest time into the book to know that.  I’ve tried numerous times to change the opening.  Nothing works, except what’s already written.  Exceptional writers could probably pick it up and rewrite it with ease.  I’m not an exceptional writer.  I don’t write because I write well.  I write because I can’t stop writing.  I have to work hard at putting out something that someone can stomach.  I’ll just have to go with my gut on the opening for “White Castle.”  I’ve realized sometimes I’ll win readers, and sometimes I’ll lose some.  It’s the nature of the business.

As you venture toward your goals, know this—someone, somewhere out there is going to do and say things to hinder you.  It can’t be avoided.  Take the high road and embrace it.  Use it to push you closer and closer to where you want to be. Write that hurt out of your soul until you can’t feel it anymore.

I was troubled just days ago over a critique I gave.  The woman receiving the critique was irate.  I was called at least four to six different names and accused of being holier than thou.  “Just who do you think you are?”  You could feel the door hinges rattle.  I sat at my desk shaking.  I couldn’t think.

But what the woman gave me was an enormous amount of strength.  She has no idea that she made me weak.  This weakness gave birth to humility, opened me up and allowed God to empower me.  Try to move me off my foundation now.

I want you to also experience this euphoria of writing.  I want you to reach beyond your dreams—to aim for the moon and then receive the whole blasted sky and universe combined!

You don’t have to be an expert.  You don’t need a Ph.D., MFA, MA, or the like.  Those are nice.  But it’s not essential.  Let me be the first to break the news to you.  All those rules they’re telling us to heed to, many of those precious degree-holding souls break them too.  What many won’t tell you is that you must know when to break the rules and how often.  The only credentials you need is belief in God, a willingness to study your craft, good work ethics, and a willingness to heed to the best advice out there.  God will light your path, and place you where you ought to be when you need to be there.

No matter what your endeavors, you can succeed.  Today is the day.  Come on!  You can do this!

Have a happy journey!

Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Novelist

1 Comment

  1. I love your style of writing with just having read sections of your author site, not your “writings” just yet. I would truly love to be a part of your critiquing group and / or friend in writing. I couldn’t help but even tweet about you just now “And as long as I have life in this old body, I want to write until I can’t see anymore. – Donna Comeaux”, which has just been favorited by Tablo Publishing. I would even like to invite you to participate in short story writing, though they are a bit longer than 500 words – yes, those really short ones are hard. If you have a few minutes, go to http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Writers-750-4731526?home=&gid=4731526&trk=groups_most_popular-h-logo and join the group. Heather Shuldt heads this group. She has taken some of our short stories and published them to her Giant Tales anthologies. I was published in 3 of them last year. They are not big money makers, but you have bragging rights. Writers 750 also upholds strict standards of no bad language or erotica. I have met some great authors of faith in this forum. So I hope to hear from you in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

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