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Meet 2015 Golden Heart Finalist Brynn Kelly!

Today we have the pleasure of welcoming another Dragonfly guest blogger: 2015 Golden Heart Finalist Brynn Kelly, whose book DECEPTION ISLAND is nominated for best Romantic Suspense.

Brynn Kelly is an award-winning novelist and journalist, and bestselling non-fiction author from New Zealand. She could well be setting a RWA15 record for the longest non-stop journey to New York—35 hours straight, including stopovers. The flight goes via Sydney—which means she starts out flying three hours in the wrong direction. She’s viewing it as a long (and cramped) writing retreat. And, hey, when you’re a parent of young children, any time alone is a luxury.

Not only is DECEPTION ISLAND her Golden Heart book, it’s also going to be her publishing debut, to be released by Harlequin’s HQN imprint in 2016.

In DECEPTION ISLAND, an action-adventure romantic suspense, a rogue French Foreign Legion officer and a Californian conwoman reluctantly team up to battle modern-day pirates and slave traders in the steamy jungles and azure waters of an Indian Ocean paradise.

 Brynn’s here to talk with us about an issue so many of us struggle with as writers: the yearning for external validation, and the temptation to give up on our dreams.

Take it away, Brynn!

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brynnkellyLet It Go

We fiction writers are a neurotic bunch.

We’re forever waiting for someone to tell us whether our writing’s any good—and by extension whether we’re any good.

When we’re unpublished, we hang on the opinions of critique partners, beta readers, contest judges, editors and agents. After we’re published, we add reviewers and readers and booksellers to that list.

We think we’ll have made it if we can just win that contest, land that publishing deal, get that five-star review, hit the bestseller lists, gather 1000 likes on that Facebook post… We’ll be good enough. We’ll be a real writer.

If a publisher or agent passes on our story, we call it a “rejection”. Ugh. What an ugly word—it hits you like a punch to the gut. You can’t help taking a rejection personally. (I’ve launched a personal campaign to ban the word from my writing circles. The professional word for this, a “pass”, is much kinder, and more accurate.)

But perhaps *that* word is a reflection of how closely entwined our selves are with our work. One of my favorite writing quotes is by Paul Gallico, author of the Poseidon Adventure: “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.”

Opening a vein hurts. And it hurts even more when, after all that spilled blood, you get a “rejection”. Like it’s not just your work that’s been “rejected”, but a piece of your soul. It’s hard not to interpret this as: “Someone just said my creation sucks, ergo, I suck.”

I went on submission with my full-length romantic suspense novel DECEPTION ISLAND last November. I’d squeezed plenty of blood into this manuscript, but having been through the cycles of submitting and revising and resubmitting and ultimately getting a pass with two previous manuscripts, I thought I’d be thicker-skinned.

And I was, at first. Almost immediately, an editor I hugely respected at HQN, my dream imprint, reported that she “loved” it and had passed it around for second reads. All good. My heart was light. But, just like in a good novel, the stakes kept rising and the tension kept building. The second reads turned into further reads, the acquisition meeting was delayed, and delayed again, opinions were sought from sales and marketing.

By late March, it seemed that everyone from the VP of editorial to the courier had read the manuscript, and there was still no word. My hopes had climbed so high that by this point a crash would hurt, bad. I wasn’t sure how I could deal with that. I told myself that I was better off not knowing than getting a pass, so the waiting was a good thing. Right? It kept hope alive. Right?

That last week of March, another decision from afar about my writing loomed—the finalists were due to be announced in the Golden Heart, one of the world’s most prestigious contests for unpublished novelists. As a first-time entrant I had no idea of my chances, but I’d written the announcement date in my diary, and as the days flipped by, I watched it approach.

My stomach began to churn. I struggled to concentrate. I lost sleep. I tried to visualize myself getting the an offer *and* finaling, but all I could think of was, “What if neither happens?”

I told myself I was being ridiculous. I was a forty-year-old woman, for God’s sake. I’d been a journalist for nearly twenty years, with four non-fiction books and many thousands of articles to my name—long enough to have shed the fear of criticism and the hunger for platitudes (though they’re always welcome, for the record).

But this was different. This was a piece of my soul carved out and laid, dripping with fresh blood, on a piece of paper—321 pieces of paper, to be precise, in double-spaced Times New Roman. There was no separation between my self and my manuscript.

I asked myself: At what point do I gracefully bow out of this dream, and just live a pleasant, everyday life liberated from the craving for news from New York?

I’d been writing all my life—it was all I’d ever wanted to do. I’d gone into journalism so I could write. I’d been playing around with writing novels for eight years, in between freelancing and parenting. I didn’t want to be a quitter, but I’d already sacrificed many thousands of hours I could have spent earning extra money for the family, or spending time with my husband and two young sons. The boys had only ever known a stressed mother who was juggling too much. And for what? How much more sacrifice would it take? Was it worth it?

As that fateful Friday approached, another question popped into my head: “Does it matter?”

Did it matter if I got the publishing deal? Well, actually, no. I could always self-publish, though in this crowded market it wasn’t the start I’d hoped for.

Did it matter if I didn’t final? No. Finaling would be great, but not finaling would have exactly zero impact on my life.

Did it matter if I didn’t write fiction anymore? Hell, yes. I love the feeling of my neurons firing as I create worlds and bring characters to life and play with words. It’s my adrenalin buzz. And I love rereading those words and realizing that they don’t suck nearly as much as I’d expected. And editing and polishing to make them shine. And getting woken at 3am by my subconscious pulling up my eyelids and squealing, “I’ve got a great idea.”

So I made a decision—not to quit, but to let go of the need for external validation. Somewhere along the journey, my love for the act of writing fiction had blurred with the need for recognition, this desperation for some Writing Authority to step in and say, “Yes, you’re good enough. You may be a writer.”

I let it go. And yes, I spent the next few days walking around the house belting the Frozen theme tune. The pressure lifted from my chest. I slept again. I began to see a future beyond the decision on my manuscript, beyond the finalist announcement. Life—and writing—would go on.

And then, as if I was living in some parable, the validation began.

On the Thursday afternoon, my phone rang. A U.S. number. Holy cow, DECEPTION ISLAND had finaled in the Golden Heart. If I hadn’t expected a call on the Friday, I certainly hadn’t expected it on the Thursday—I got an early heads-up because of the time difference between the States and New Zealand, where I live.

I had to keep it secret, but I did email my agent, Nalini Akolekar. I woke that night about 4am and flicked on my phone, just to see if my name was really on the RWA website. It was! While I was online, Nalini emailed to say she finally had news on the submission. My stomach flipped. She’d used an exclamation mark. Surely she wouldn’t do that if the news was bad? I told her I was awake, so right then was as good a time to talk as any.

I took her call in my living room, sitting in the dark and whispering, so I wouldn’t wake the family. Allison Carroll at HQN had offered a two-book deal. By evening I was booking tickets to New York for the RWA conference and awards ceremony in July. A surreal end to a soul-searching week.

I’m usually embarrassingly emotional—I cry at anything, happy or sad or anywhere in between. But while my writing friends were squeeing and my neighbors were popping champagne, my overriding feeling was—and still is—one of calm relief. I didn’t have to give up the dream.

What I did give up that week was the desperate need for external validation. And though it feels amazing to have finaled, and to have sold my book, I suspect the true rewards will come from giving myself permission to let it go.

Have you been on a similar journey? How do you balance the need to believe in yourself with the desire for external rewards? I’d love to hear your story.

(Note: Because Brynn will be checking in from New Zealand and start of the day East Coast time is about 1 a.m. to her, she won’t be able to comment until late afternoon / early evening for most of us. She’ll check in as soon as she reasonably can!)

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Connect with Brynn Kelly on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brynnkellyauthor,

on Twitter at twitter.com/brynnwrites,

and on www.brynnkelly.com.

57 responses to “Meet 2015 Golden Heart Finalist Brynn Kelly!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Brynn!!

    I’m trying to do the math to figure out what time it is in New Zealand as I write this…something like 3 in the afternoon, I think. But I’m on West Coast time and about to go to bed, so most readers will start coming on in about as you’re going to bed.

    We’ll see you when we see you!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Hi Elisa! Thanks so much for having me on the blog. Yes, the time difference screws with my mind, too. It’s now just past 10pm here – my bedtime – and my computer tells me it’s just past 6am in NY. So I’ve survived my Monday, and it was all good–you guys will, too! I’ll check back in my morning… Thanks again!

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  2. Hello from a fellow Antipodean, Brynn! I might well bump into you at Sydney Airport when I depart for NY next month. 🙂 Congratulations on your 2015 GH final and your HQN sale. I’m glad you kept the dream alive.

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Hi Vanessa! I’ll be the one with the eye mask and the earplugs and the neck pillow and the lap rug and the kindle and the laptop and the podcasts and the bottled water and, well, EVERYTHING else for that crazy long flight. See you in NY (or Sydney!)

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Be sure you get up when you move when you can, and learn some simple leg exercises you can do in your seat. You need to keep the blood flowing and avoid the risk of clots forming from sitting too long.

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        • Brynn Kelly says:

          Yes! And I have stopovers in Sydney and LA, so I’ll make sure to go for long walks around the terminals.

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  3. Brynn, loved the article! I will also try to take it to heart since I’m still awaiting that external “validation”. Mega congrats on the book deal!

    And I am looking forward to meeting you in NYC! I know we can’t help but bump into one another. 😉

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Thanks, Carol! That validation will come! Just don’t sit around waiting for it 🙂 Yes, I’m SURE we’ll meet each other in NY.

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  4. Seana Kelly says:

    Congratulations, Brynn, not just on GH and selling your first ms, but on letting it go! That is so much healthier and more conducive to writing. When I received the call in March, I couldn’t read, write, or focus for a couple of weeks. It was the longest I’ve ever gone without reading. My brain wouldn’t quiet for more than a few moments at a time so I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I couldn’t let it go.

    I’d love to write that I’ve gained your insight, that I, too, had an epiphany but that would make me a dirty, dirty liar. For me, the ability to let the fear and self-doubt (and the need for that external validation we believe will be the death of fear and self-doubt) has come in inconsistent spurts, a cha-cha if you will. For every step forward on the No-Need-For-External-Validation scale, I take a step backward. Obsessing over friends taking too long to read and respond to my book (Did she hate it? Is that why she’s not responding? Is she trying to come up with ‘great font’ type compliments?), checking e-mail constantly to see if my query was answered, keeping my status as a writer under wraps for fear I’ll never be published, this level of neurosis is a full-time job. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever achieve your level of badassery but I can totally wander around the house singing Let It Go. Perhaps I’ll start there. 🙂

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Hi Seana! Oh, I don’t mean to suggest I’m totally cured! I don’t think that’s possible. But I guess I can now recognize when I’m relying too much on external validation and “let it go”, in that moment – and hopefully the next, and the next. It’s on a case-by-case basis. Def a cha cha rather than a march 🙂

      Love the “great font” thing. Totally get it.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      DEFINITELY a cha-cha rather than a march (love that expression, Brynn!!)

      I feel like I have to re-learn lessons about how to survive the writing life over and over and over….

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  5. Caroline says:

    What a great story! Wow, you had one heck of an exciting 26/27 March! 🙂

    I know just how you feel about finding that peace. At the end of last year I hit a financial hiccup where I decided I had to make some changes in my life. There isn’t a lot of room for change when you’re a single mom with a full time job, but my key choice was: take on a part time job or write more in hopes of it turning into a revenue stream. I’d been slacking a bit to that point, thinking, “Well, I didn’t write 1k words today but I’ll do 2k tomorrow,” and then it snowballed from there.

    The leader of our critique group pronounced 2015 The Year We Hustle and I took it to heart. I wrote 1k words per day if not more, and I made writing my priority even if it meant eating instant oatmeal for lunch every day. (Cheap and healthy; you can’t go wrong!) The moment I chose writing over “Welcome to WalMart; can I help you?”, I knew I’d made the right decision. It felt like what I needed to do for me.

    Your story sounds fantastic! I can’t WAIT to find it in the stores, wave it around to everyone in earshot, and then take it home and dive in! 🙂 Congratulations, my Dragonfly Sister!!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Hi Caroline! Love the “year we hustle” – what a great idea. I hugely admire you for prioritizing your dreams. It’s a great example to set to your kids, oatmeal for lunch or not. I try to always share my writing journey with my boys. It’s healthy for them to see us working hard and persevering, and coping with the setbacks – even mourning them – and, most importantly, moving on from them. That’s going to teach them a lot more about how to tackle life than if they watch us trudging off every day to a job that just ticks the boxes and does nothing more. Good luck with the hustling!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      And you HAVE been hustling, girl!!

      Just finished HEATED COMPETITION last night, and loved it!! It’s super-sexy, and also a very tender, real-world love story! Great job! (Yeah, that was external validation, but you totally earned it!)

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      • Caroline says:

        Elisa, thank you so much! I’m still giggling, “Yay, my first review!!” And yay for external validation…once in a while. Everything in moderation. Even Bradley Cooper. 🙂

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  6. Harriet Hale says:

    Brynn — what a great story, and what awesome advice. Congratulations!

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  7. jbrayweber says:

    So now the Frozen “Let It Go” song is stuck in my head…

    Great post, Brynn. So much truth in your words. The need for validation is very real, but it certainly doesn’t need to consume us. That’s when it becomes toxic, slowly poisoning us. Recognizing that validation is a natural emotive need/want – which can be found in many forms – that we can control makes it easier to not need or depend on it but appreciate the validation when it comes.

    Congrats on your GH final, and more importantly, on your upcoming debut. All the best of luck!

    Jenn!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Ah, Jenn, you speak the truth…

      “It’s funny how some distance/Makes everything seem small/And the fears that once controlled me/Can’t get to me at aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall” 😉

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  8. Brynn, such a lovely post. And boy, can I relate. The feelings, the angst, the blood pouring, it’s as if you were telling my story. I finally let it go a few years past and decided I would actually tell people when asked what I do that I was A WRITER. Yes. Not ashamedly, but confidently. Happily. No, I wasn’t published, but I wasn’t going to keep looking for validation. My passion for writing was, and is, proof enough that I AM.

    Being a Dragonfly this year is wonderful. I’m not the least bit nervous about pitching either. What will be will be. My skin has grown so tough, it’s grown scales. Not a pretty image, I know. But with self publishing where it’s at today, I’m not dependent on any agent or editor out there. Also, deep down I rely on God’s strength and wisdom. That’s enough for me.

    Thanks for your words, sister. Encouraging and beautiful! Hugs waiting for you when we meet!!!

    xo

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Yes, Arlene! *That* moment you decide you will proclaim yourself a writer! Such an important step in believing in yourself. I transitioned a few years ago into “writer”, but for a long time I couldn’t resist backing it up with “…and journalist”. For that credibility, you know. That’s another thing I’ve let go. Looking forward to celebrating in NY 🙂

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  9. Great post!! I’ve always had to stop and remind myself after each rejection that the most important validation is the reader–whether it be two readers or twenty thousand. If it’s only me and I’m happy with not making money that’s fine–but oh how it will be nice to have peoe reading my novels!!!

    Good luck and wishing you publishing success!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      So true, Tina! I’ve written several non-fiction books, and it never fails to blow me away when someone contacts me to say my writing has inspired them, or whatever. Just as much of a buzz as a royalty check 🙂 I always make sure to send a writer a tweet or email if I’ve enjoyed their books – and I get my kids to do the same.

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  10. kari lemor says:

    This is beautiful. Everything you wrote was spot on. I think most writers go through exactly what you have to varying degrees. Like you, I feel that ‘no news is good news’ and can delude myself into thinking that I still have a chance if I haven’t heard anything.

    I am so proud and thrilled for your new success. I know how hard and how long you’ve worked at this and it makes me happy to see a very deserving person finally getting the validation they have worked so hard for. I look forward to meeting you in NYC in a few weeks. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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  11. Carrie Padgett says:

    Great post, Brynn. And congratulations on your GH final. It’s an amazing and validating experience. I also refuse to use ‘that word,’ and usually ‘declined’ instead. ‘Pass’ is good too.

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Carrie – Yes, good for you! Spread the word, and let no one ever be “rejected” again!

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  12. Elle Mason says:

    I loved reading how exciting these past few months have been. So excited to meet you next month. Hoping I can do the 35 hr journey your way one day. 🙂

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Yes, it’s a lovely part of the world, but so far away (though you can get much shorter flights than my circuitous one). Would love to show you around, one day!

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  13. Kim Law says:

    Welcome, Brynn!!! I love, love, love this story! It’s amazing, isn’t it, what we can let control our lives and emotions? And oh my, what a great day for you to both final and sell!!! Though if I’d been you, I would have bawled like a baby 🙂

    Super huge congrats, and way to go on squashing the need for that external validation. I think it’s a matter of learning to believe in yourself, and it sounds like you had good reason to! Congrats!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Thanks, Kim! Yes, I don’t really know why I didn’t bawl – I certainly have been known to shed tears reading other people’s call stories!

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  14. Julie Glover says:

    I love this! Especially the idea of rephrasing “rejection” as “pass”–far more accurate.

    As much as I wish I’d begun writing novels earlier in my life, there’s a beauty to not having entered this fray until my 40s. My sense of self is far more established now, so critiques and passes don’t ding me like they would have when I was younger. At the core of my soul, I know I am a writer–and nothing will change that. Do I want to put my stories into the world, see my books on bookshelves, and earn a living at this? Absolutely! But I have a sense of calm about it too.

    Can wait to meet you at Nationals, Brynn!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      I agree, Julie. And we have so much more experience we can dig into. Since I was a teen, I knew I was going to be a novelist – but I also figured it wouldn’t be until I was 40. I just always had that number in mind, for some reason. (I’ll be 41 when my debut is published, so I wasn’t far off!) I was very aware that I needed to live, first. As much as I admire publishing ingenues, and yes, am sometimes a little envious of those who’ve struck success at a young age and know just who they are and where they’re going, I know that the shape of this journey is the right one for me.

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  15. Elise Hayes says:

    Great blog, Brynn!

    I loved the questions you asked yourself about whether the news from the publisher or the GH would matter…it pushed you to ask yourself why you write.

    That need for external validation is so hard to let go…I’ve had moments where I’ve succeeded in it, but for me it’s always come back (sigh). But ultimately, the need to keep writing, to keep telling stories, keeps me going–and is, I suspect, what keeps most of us going!

    Best of luck at Nationals!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Yes, I don’t think any of us can totally liberate ourselves from external validation. And we probably shouldn’t. We need to be paying attention to feedback on our writing, and asking the tough questions about what it means. That’s how we improve, and keep innovating, as writers. I guess the trick is to separate the desire for validation for our work from our self-worth.

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  16. Welcome, Brynn, and congratulations on the GH final!!

    And wow, such a powerful post. I’ve always sought external validation (I was the people pleaser, teacher’s pet type who always got straight A’s.). But as I get older, that matters less and less, and I’m relieved. Sure, it’s nice to receive an award or a good review, or simply be noticed. But I’m happy with who I am, and as long as I remind myself of that, I’m good…most days. 😉

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Ah, yes, you just described my life 🙂 And, yes, we totally need to celebrate those validations when they come. We just need to work out a way to avoid being discouraged when they don’t. It’s a work in progress…

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  17. Jo Anne Banker says:

    Brynn – what a wonderful post! Love ‘pass’ rather than ‘rejection.’ And I love the truth that we write for the love of writing. I was close to fifty when I allowed my passion for stories onto the page. I puttered, learning craft for a while. Then I focused on that outside validation for several years, running a business, keeping up with family, a full social life, volunteering, and my writing, too. I ran into some health problems, so my focus was redirected.

    I’ll work really hard to make a business a success, and publishing is a business. Writing, on the other hand, is a joy. So I realized if I publish, I’ll work hard and enjoy it, but if I never publish, that’s okay, too. But the writing, we keep that forever.

    I’m thrilled with your HQN deal, and can’t wait to read next year’s release. Sorry I’ll miss you in NY, but I’m sure we’ll Dragonfly together sometime in the future. In the meantime – you enjoy the ride, lady. It may not be vital, but there’s sure nothing wrong with a little external validation! 🙂

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Thanks, Jo Anne. Yes, it’s vital that we retain the joy of writing. I’m at the point now that it’s becoming more of a “job” and I have to keep myself focused on the joy of the act of creating. I did have a cool moment a couple of months ago when I decided to give myself A Day Off (which never happens) – a day to do whatever I wanted. And you know what I chose? To go cafe hopping with my laptop and write whatever I felt like writing. That’s when you know you’ve turned your passion into your job.

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  18. Mia Sosa says:

    What a fantastic story, Brynn! I’m delighted that you’ve experienced great success this year. It’s funny how the times when you’re least expecting something to happen are the very times when you’re floored by excellent news.

    For me, the journey to a state of calm involved putting my writing life in perspective. I love writing, and so long as I am physically and mentally able, I can always write. I’m also a daughter, a mother, a wife, and a friend to people near and far. Even if I receive a pass from an agent or editor, I still play those roles, and I try to do them well.

    I’m looking forward to meeting you in New York. Nationals, here we come!

    Hugs,
    Mia

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      So true, Mia. It’s so easy to hook our self-esteem to that one part of our lives – the writing. I often fall into the trap of looking back at my week and thinking, glumly, that I accomplished nothing, because I didn’t meet my writing goals. But I need to make myself look at the other good things I accomplished, however small or incidental.

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  19. Maria Powers says:

    Love this post and it’s something my fellow PRO members over at OCC/RWA have been discussing. Are you a writer? What makes you a writer? Crisis of confidence and how to get back on the horse. This is brilliant. Thank you Brynn.

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Ah yes, those confidence issues are just as important to succeeding as a writer as understanding POV and plot. And that’s what I love about these writing networks – we do talk about those emotional issues surrounding writing, and recognize there’s so much more to success than being good at your craft.

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  20. Brynn,
    Firstly congratulations on your success both in the Golden Heart and with the HQN book deal. I’m going to confess that you’re kind of my hero right now, as I’m at a similar stage of life and trying to work out this whole publishing thing fro (apparently) the ‘wrong’ side of the planet, for me in Melbourne, Australia.

    I totally agree with the Let It Go sentiment. I had a little early success in finalling in a writing contest with the second long fiction piece I’d written, after many years in corporate communications. Then, nothing. No agent or editor requests to see more of that manuscript, and pieces I entered in subsequent contests didn’t score nearly so well. What does it mean? I have no idea. But I’m letting it go, writing a couple of new stories. They will end up published at some stage, but for now I’m learning not to be a stress-head.

    Best of luck again, and have a great time in New York!
    Cheers, Cassandra.

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Ah, I hear you, Cassandra. The first romance writing contest I entered, I got nowhere. When I got the email, I thought, ‘Well, that’s a sign. I obviously don’t have a future here.’ Within a few months I’d won the Valerie Parv Award (with the same story, because that’s the fickle nature of contests for you), which was the single most important boost along my writing journey, because of the invaluable mentoring with Valerie. Wish you were coming to NY!

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  21. Bryn, this is such a great post! I agree that the best you can give yourself is to do the work. Writing is the reward. Thanks for posting!

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  22. Tracy P says:

    So happy for you Brynn and looking forward to meeting you in NYC – after you get a little sleep from the 35 hour flight.

    Ah, the craving for validation. I can so relate! Whether it’s reads and comments on Fan Fiction to keep you going, to crit partner then contest judges feedback on to wins. Each “pass” from an agent or editor still stings and makes you wonder “Am I good enough?” I have to remind myself it’s about finding the right fit. You don’t love every guy you date, every book you pick up or dress you try on. I think women are more wired to take it personally – when it’s not. You’re so right about “let it go, let it go!” (imagine that sung very off-key because that’s no my talent) because some day my Prince, I mean agent and/or editor will call! 😉

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  23. Brynn, Brynn, Brynn,
    Like everyone else, I really enjoyed this inspirational post. I struggle with validation too, although being a GH finalist is just the validation I’ve needed. 🙂 Congrats soooo much on your HQN deal. Looking forward to reading DECEPTION ISLAND and meeting you in NY.

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Thanks, Tosha! Yes, I can’t believe it’s only a few weeks away. Looking forward to meeting everyone. What a rush…

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  24. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks so much for being with us today, Brynn, and congrats on where “letting go” has taken you so far!!

    Have a fabulous time in NYC!

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Thanks, Elisa. I’ve been blown away by the ideas pelting back and forth. This is what I love about these writing networks. Thanks again to the Rubies for the opportunity.

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  25. I’ve been writing for 30+ years, and my Golden Heart finalist is my sixth novel. I thought I had the external validation thing down, but the rush of interest in my manuscript has brought it all back again. I suspect that addiction is like all others, a battle you have to fight over and over.

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    • Brynn Kelly says:

      Yes, absolutely. And we shouldn’t discard validation entirely, of course. That rush of hope, that sense of possibility, that inkling that life could change in a phone call – which you get when you have a story out there in the world – can also be a very positive, wonderful thing. The trick is to try to enjoy the upside to the ride, while not letting the downside crush our self esteem.

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  26. Jen Gilroy says:

    Thanks for an inspiring post, Brynn. I’ll take your advice, it’s “pass” instead of “rejection” from now on!

    I look forward to meeting you soon.

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  • Louisa Cornell: It’s a great first line, Louise! I am looking forward to reading the book!
  • Lenee Anderson: The murderer is David’s best friend. I’m concerned if I said something along the lines of...
  • Darynda Jones: This is great, Lenee, especially for a first attempt. Wow. I’m wondering if the stakes can be...
  • Darynda Jones: YES!!! I love it, Vivi, but Autumn’s is adds that twists that grabs me. Great job both of you!
  • Heather McCollum: Yes, this works! Thank you Autumn! You are awesome!!

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