Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting There

Debut author, Joanne Kennedy, is my guest Over Coffee today. Joanne writes romantic suspense with a little bit of humor stirred in to keep it interesting. She lives in Cowboy country so it's no surprise her debut is about those tough and sexy American icons, the cowboy.

Joanne's talks about the need to love what you do. Reaching your goals when you love the work is a joy. When you love your work, climbing the steps isn't a hardship. Each level brings new goals to achieve and even when you *get there* you still have steps to climb.

The road to publication is a long road, paved with rejections and frustration—but I made it. I’m finally “there” – but now that I’ve reached my goal, I’m surprised to find that, in the words of Gertrude Stein, “there is no ‘there’ there.”
When you first start writing, you think to yourself, “If I could just finish this…”

You finish it. Then you hope to win a contest. Then you begin the long process of submission, aiming for goals like getting requests for partial manuscripts, then fulls, then getting offers of representation from agents.

When I signed with my agent, I really thought I was “there.” And I was close—closer than a lot of writers get with their first agent, because I was lucky enough to strike gold the first time out and sign with a really good agent who’s also a fine human being (actually, I think she’s a goddess). But even with her knowledge and contacts, it took over a year, many revisions, and finally a second manuscript, to make a sale.

And now that Cowboy Trouble has hit the stores, there are still goals ahead of goals and more goals. I hope the book sells well. I hope it gets good reviews. And if it does get good reviews, I’ll be worrying about the next book—will it live up to the first?

I can always find something to worry about.

But in some ways, that’s a good thing. No matter how well the book does, I’ll always be reaching for the next milestone. Bestseller lists. Awards. Making a living if I’m lucky, and then a better living.

The striving never ends—and that’s good. Life loses its flavor when you have nothing to aspire to.

But that realization showed me that the ultimate reward writing offers doesn’t lie in any of these achievements. The real reward is in the writing itself—the good days when the words flow freely, the triumphs when I solve a particularly gnarly plot problem, the weird, almost mystical joy of creating a world and characters who inhabit it and make it real, and even the satisfaction of knuckling down and getting the job done on a difficult day.

If you don’t take joy in the simple act of doing what you love, forget the other goals. Because if you think achieving any of them is going to complete your life, you’re wrong.

Whether your talent lies in writing, painting, teaching children, or running a business, you’re lucky if you’ve found what you were meant to do. Doing what you love is a privilege and a joy.

In the all-consuming quest for success, it’s easy to forget the biggest blessing of all: you have a talent that only you can offer. You have a place in the world.

So for all you aspiring writers out there, and everyone else who is always aiming for some elusive goal, take heart. When you sit down at your desk or your piano or your word processor, take a deep breath, and light into the day’s work, you’re already “there.”

What do you love to do? What are your goals, and how would achieving them change your life?


Fleeing her latest love life disaster, big city journalist Libby Brown's transition to rural living isn't going exactly as planned. Her childhood dream has always been to own a chicken farm—but without the constant help of her charming, sexy, cowboy neighbor; she'd never have made it through her first Wyoming season.

Handsome rancher Luke Rawlins is impressed by this sassy, independent city girl. But he yearns to do more than help Libby out with her ranch…he's ready for love, and he wants to go the distance. When the two get embroiled in their tiny town's one and only crime story, Libby discovers that their sizzling hot attraction is going to complicate her life in every way possible…


Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions ranging from bookseller to buyer. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second place in the Heart of the Rockies contest in 2007. Joanne lives and writes in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information please visit