Archive of Letters and Voices • Mitali Perkins
• April 9, 2021
Dear fellow lovers of story,
I wish I had treated my vocation of writing fiction with as much care as I do now. Maybe you can learn from my mistake.
I started out writing for fun. It was something I did on the side as a hobby. To my amazement, one of my stories won a contest and was published as a novel. Seeing my first novel reach readers was delightful, but it wasn’t until my second novel was published that I decided to invest in my writing as a career. That book, Monsoon Summer, was rejected by 22 different publishers and came out eleven years after my first novel.
Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t give up. But as I revised and revised and endured rejection after rejection, a sense of calling was deepening and growing. Driven by the love of my character (I didn’t want to see her disappear) and the conviction that stories really do change hearts and minds, I pressed on.
That was when writing changed from a pastime into a vocation. I began to invest in growing in the craft, taking classes in writing and seeking mentors. I also learned as much as I could about the publishing industry. I haven’t looked back since, and my fifteenth book just came out.
I love this quote by the writer Frederick Beuchner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” If you, like me, find great gladness in creating stories, it’s easy to see that people are starved for them. Won’t you join me? Let’s get writing, friends, and treat the gift of being able to do it with great respect and gratitude.