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  • Jennifer Z. Major

Time for a pep talk.

Wix stock photo

No, I haven't signed with a new agent.

No, my Navajo books haven't sold.

No, my contemporaries haven't sold.

No, my World War Two book isn't finished.

No, I'm not giving up.

But something occurred to me today, something that I'd forgotten...the fact...while I'm not yet an author, I am still very much a writer.

I can't not write.

I can't quit this gig. Stories are always floating in my head and I really enjoy the process of wrangling them on to a page.

While this LONG season of rejection and waiting is, at times, soul-crushingly brutal, the season itself cannot take away the ability I have to spin a good yarn.

While it may sound wildly arrogant to say this, I'll say it anyway...I write really good stories that will take readers far away, flip them on their heads, roll over their hearts, and then stand them up and dust them off, and leave them wanting more.

If that irks you, then answer me this, if I don't do a banner job of standing behind my work with pride, who will?

I also have to remember that as I slog along and watch many of my friends surge ahead, that my path is MY path, and I refuse to flop down in the ditch and become idle.

A few hours ago, I finished the edit on my second contemporary. It's a story about a green-eyed blond in witness protection who is hiding from her father, a merciless beast who committed a hate crime. She is the last surviving witness, and he wants her dead.

What happens when this woman, who cannot be found or she's seriously doomed, meets and falls for a mega-famous, temperamental African-American football player who loves the social media spotlight, and the man in the mirror?

I really like that story. It asks some hard questions, as does all my writing.

I was asked once, and not very nicely, "why does everything you write have to be about race?".

I never intended to do so, it just happened.

But, look around.

That's why.

Also, can someone please explain the problem with one crayon in the box playing with all the other crayons? Go ahead, I'll wait.

As for my writing, yes, my first love will always be Navajo history. But the hard facts are that while my writing may be great, the subject matter probably isn't what will break me into the market. I have to get my foot in a door somewhere and if contemporary fiction is what does it? Then so be it.

As for that pep talk I mentioned?

I reminded myself that while I may remain unpublished, nothing and no one can take away the fact that I have written five full-length novels, have two more partially written, and one is drafted.

Sometimes when the crowd has left, or never showed up, but you believe in your skills and talents, and you're standing on the stage, you have to choose to keep the show going because someday the lights will come on.

When they do, you have to be ready.

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