The blossoming of a career

I’m writing this post on Tuesday, because most of Thursday will find me on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, on my way to the Pennwriter’s conference in Lancaster. I had hoped to be able to share some news. And by the time this post goes live, who knows – I might be able to. But rather than try and come up with something totally different (cue Monty Python), I will try and fit what I was going to write to what I can do today.

Update: I can share. I’m thrilled that my story, “Three Rivers Voodoo,” will be part of this year’s Bouchercon anthology!

We’ve talked about stories as seeds. But a writing career is like a seed, too. we start with this idea of “Hey, maybe I’ll write a book. I’ve always wanted to. How hard can it be?”

I’ll wait while all the writers out there laugh hysterically.

Okay, moving on.

Those first stories can be rather haphazard. We throw things – words – around hoping one of them will stick and our career will shoot up like a sunflower: tall, proud, and bold.

Except, it doesn’t usually happen that way.

Instead, we find that there is a ton of stuff we don’t know: about writing, submitting, agents, publishing, marketing, etc., etc., etc. And just as that career looks like it’s going to blossom, it…doesn’t.

But if we are serious, we try again. Write more stories. Novels, short fiction, whatever. Maybe we try sending short fiction to magazines. Anthologies. We rack up more rejections. We feel that the career will never bloom. We eat chocolate, drink wine, moan with our writer friends.

And then we try again. And one day – one day – there’s bud. A definite bud. And it opens. It might be small. But it’s the first, a hint that maybe there are more to come. Immature buds, the promise of good things. Maybe they’ll open. Maybe they won’t. But it turns out that a “career” isn’t a bud – it’s a bush. And like most bushes, it takes time to get a whole crop of mature blossoms.

It takes time. It takes patience. And it takes courage – courage to keep on writing, keep on nurturing, hoping that bud will burst forth. Peg Brantley shared this quote yesterday. I think it’s just as appropriate today.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.


Mary Sutton | @mary_sutton73


Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She survived growing up through reading, cutting her mystery teeth on Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and, of course, Nancy Drew. As an adult, she finds escape from the world of software documentation through creating her own fictional murder and mayhem. She lives near Pittsburgh with her husband and two teenage children, and fantasizes about owning a dog again - one of these days.

8 thoughts on “The blossoming of a career”

  1. Writing is an art. Like playing piano, painting, etc, you practice and practice and practice with bad books and mistakes in order to improve and you may never make money on it. But we do it anyway because it’s a compulsion — an expression — and we can’t not. Pretty remarkable, I would say.


  2. Yea! Yea! Yippee! Mary, what wonderful news. Congratulations! I am framing this quote on my writer wall “career” isn’t a bud – it’s a bush. And like most bushes, it takes time to get a whole crop of mature blossoms.” SO TRUE


  3. Thanks, all! Finally checked into my room. Dinner awaits, but figured I’d pop in first. Glad you all liked the post, the story title – and I hope you like the story!


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