Here’s something we all need. Insider info from a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist on, well, the agony and ecstasy of keeping on keeping on. Confused? Keep on reading on.
by Elizabeth McGowan
When I dipped my bicycle tires into the Atlantic Ocean in Yorktown, Virginia, in early November 2000, my yelp for joy was followed by a lengthy sigh.
At last, I had finished my absolutely-must-do, solo, cross-country trek of 4,250 miles. Completion liberated me to focus solely on conservation and energy articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications. Or, so I thought.
Then somebody, a supposed friend, suggested I write a book about my adventure. After all, I had a natural start with the journal entries I had posted online. But a book seemed a reach to me.
Still, the friend offered to connect me to an acquaintance, a New York City literary agent. I guess vanity trumped common sense because I pounded out a few chapters and sent them. The agent offered words of encouragement, but said I would have to dig much deeper to accomplish what it seemed I wanted to do. She suggested I keep in touch.
Three months later, when the chaos of 9/11 erupted, a book seemed irrelevant. I set my puny manuscript aside and delved into my paying job. When home, I avoided my computer, because looking at it filled me with angst about my book albatross.
Finally, tired of my cowardice, I began picking at my chapters to see what I could salvage….