Sunday, October 7, 2012

Welcome to Sara Burr Books

Well, here we are, standing at the cusp of a new beginning. The beginning of Sara Burr, the writer. I am Sara, yet I am not. I have another life outside of Sara’s life. Sara is a stand in, you see. The technical name would be pseudonym or pen name.

Do you ever feel like you have this one thing about yourself that defines you to people? Like the amputee with a prosthetic limb, or the young girl with a bald head. When people meet you, it’s the elephant in the room. You can never move on to the person that you are, behind those things that define you, until you’ve addressed the elephant in the room. Only after you’ve talked about it, will it be possible to move on and develop a relationship in a normal way. You just have to get them to see past that one thing about you first. For the same reason as the amputee would cover the prosthetic with clothing, or the sweet, fighting bald girl would wear a wig, I want to write under another name. 

I would never want my name to be the elephant in the room. I love my writing, and I’m so proud of it, but I don’t want it to define me to every new person that I meet for the rest of my life. I want people to like me for me, not because I wrote a book that they think is awesome. Although, I do still want them to think my books are awesome. I just think of J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer – I doubt either one of them realized what kind of changes were about to happen in their lives, but imagine the way people must act when they meet. I just want to be a normal person who happens to make a living writing books. I’m not looking for fame.

When I first got serious about writing novels, I was shy to talk about it. I was afraid people might think I was a crazy dreamer. Maybe I would never be good enough, and then I’d be embarrassed that I told all of those people. It was something that was really private to me. I wrote to express myself in a deep, abstract way, and it worked. It was the best therapy I could have asked for, during dark times in my life. Almost like a journal. In fact, the first 3 chapters of my book were written by hand. I still have the notebook. Very little of what is in that notebook still exists, but I like it because it reminds me of the humble beginnings of this venture.

Because it was so private to me, when I finally started to open up and talk to people about it, I felt vulnerable, raw, extremely exposed. 

My online writing profile still has the following quote in my signature: “And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd ‘cause these words are my diary screaming out loud, and I know that you’ll use them however you want to.” (Anna Nalick – Breathe)

To equal amounts of delight and horror, as I started to talk about it, I discovered that people wanted to read what I had written. It took a lot of courage for me to show those first pages of those first drafts to close friends. And then something amazing happened. They liked it! They wanted to read more.  And I came to the realization that if I truly wanted to write a novel, in the end, my hope would be for thousands of people to read it and love it. 

So, I got online and found a writing community where I could participate in discussions about writing, and critique other writers’ work. When I was brave enough I posted bits and pieces of my own, and they liked it there too. I became a real part of that community, and developed some deep friendships there. No one understands a writer like another writer.

Oh, I had a long way to go, from that first draft. They call them rough drafts for a reason, and mine was particularly rough! Thankfully, a few people who had seen some success were willing to give me some tips. I’ll never forget one, in particular, from a previously published writer. He said he rarely gave critiques to anything this poorly written because the writers were so often very defensive. But he saw something of promise in what I had posted, and in the hopes that I would take it all in stride, he tore apart my chapter. I was crestfallen. But after a day or two, I was able to look at it objectively, and learn from it. I still consider him to be a great teacher to me, because he wasn’t afraid to tell me I had a long way to go.

So I studied, and learned, and revised. Then, I rinsed, lathered, and repeated… a few hundred times. In the end, I can now say I have written so many drafts of my book that I have lost count. Once, I even used the then current draft as a guide and rewrote the whole darn thing. Each draft became more frustrating than the last, because I just wanted to be done, already. But I learned so much! And now, when I write something new, it comes out much smoother. I understand the rules a lot better. Editing comes easier. 

I’m proud to say that I have completed my book. It’s sitting on my hard drive, in all its electronic splendor, waiting for me to tie up all the little loose ends (query letter, outline, fancy printing job, etc...) before I can begin querying publishers and/or agents. There have been so many road blocks along the way, but I have been, and continue to be determined. It feels good to be on this end of the first book. I’m sure when a publisher picks it up I’ll have plenty more to edit, but for now, it’s done.

And those people who I trusted to read it? They really do like it – from start to finish. And they can’t wait for what I write next. That gives me the courage to move forward to the next stages in this journey. I dream of becoming a published author, and I dream of holding my book in a hard cover with beautiful art on the front. I also dream of the other books I will write, and I have all sorts of notes stashed here and there with ideas I want to expand on, someday.

Even though I don’t want it to define me, I love the part of me that it is. The writer part of me. Her name is Sara. 

Welcome to Sara Burr Books!


  1. Welcome, welcome! So good to have you around.

  2. Wendy I am so proud of you. Remember you edited my report when I was in School ? I knew you would do some great !!!! Loves Carlinda

  3. You Go Girl! Excited for you! & can't wait to read your book!