In 1997, more years ago than I care to admit to, I attended a Bouchercon mystery conference and listened to the writer Patricia Sprinkle speak about the “seasons” in a writer’s life. At that time I had two small children, taught 5th grade, and had committed myself to carve time out of my day to write. But, I had given myself a daily quota that I was daily unable to make. I goaded, scolded and loathed myself for not accomplishing my daily goal, day after day after day. When Ms. Sprinkle spoke, she reminded her audience of the different seasons in our lives, to recognize and honor them. I took her words in, deeply. I vowed not to beat myself up for missing arbitrary targets.
At that same conference I watched a group of mystery writers speak. On a panel together were Rudolfo Anaya, best known for Bless Me, Ultima, Lucha Corpi—her 1992 Eulogy for a Brown Angel introduced the Gloria Damasco series, which follows a Chicana L.A. detective investigating a murder that occurred during the Chicano civil rights struggles, and Manuel Ramos, an Edgar nominated novelist who discussed his career as a lawyer, his advocacy, and the long, long roots of Mexicans in Denver.
I was overwhelmed. There were my gente, so intelligent, so eloquent. And as genre writers they were particularly aware of the sociopolitical weight their writing could hold. As I watched them sparkle and entertain, I longed to share their platform with them. Afterwards I spotted Manuel Ramos and approached him; I wanted to praise and gush and offer him my appreciation. Unfortunately, after saying hello I became too choked up to continue.
Days later I left that conference renewed, filled with joy and inspiration. And yet, it would be another fourteen years before my novel was traditionally published.
A week ago I came across some of my annual goals, including agent and short story submission spreadsheets, which documented my many rejections. Looking at the evidence I wondered, what madness kept me swinging?
This December 12th at the WWS Orientation and Submission Party I’ll talk about this writing addiction we all share. I’ll discuss the value of conferences, social media, and the necessity of having a select cheering squad. I’ll chat about the obstacles I’ve faced in my writing journey as well as the survival strategies I used to buoy myself along the way. Join us! I sincerely wish you a sweet and swift trajectory to writing successes.
Désirée Zamorano’s novel The Amado Women is about four women linked by birth, separated by secrets.
A Pushcart prize nominee and award-winning short story writer, Desiree is also proud of having co-authored with her sister two plays commissioned by southern California’s Bilingual Foundation for the Arts. “Reina” and “Bell Gardens 90201” received Equity productions and toured for a total of eight years. Her essays and stories have appeared in Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and The Toast.
The online magazine The Butter profiled her as a “Writer on Fire.”