JEFFERSON-The thrill of seeing her name in print never gets old for Ashe County’s Melissa Edmondson.
Earlier this month, the wildly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series published Edmondson’s fifth story as part of a collection of works built around the theme of kindness. It debuted Feb. 7.
Here’s what you need to know.
Just when you need him most
Edmondson’s latest published work is a short story called Miracle Mike about a stranger who showed up at just the right time.
“The book itself is about random acts of kindness,” Edmondson said. “It’s a story about my first year of college and I’d had some car trouble and this man named Mike just came out of nowhere and helped us. He showed up at just the right time and that made a big impression on me.”
Lots of ‘Chicken Soup’
Since her first story was accepted three years ago, Edmondson said she’s had five of her original selections published as part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She’s covered everything from the uncomfortable nature of the dating game, to combining families, overcoming embarrassment and the thrill of running for fun.
It’s about what fires you up
Edmondson said she won’t be leaving her day job to take up the writing game full time, and that frees her to explore subjects that excite her.
“There’s less stress when you’re not having to write professionally,” Edmondson said. “You can take things a little slower and only explore areas you’re passionate about. For me that comes down to things like parenting and relationships, and that gives me the inspiration to move forward with something or to work through it when I’m struggling with it.”
Don’t be afraid of the submission process
Edmondson said she had no clue about the way the book series handled it’s submission process when her first story was accepted three years ago, but she took a leap of faith anyway.
“Sometimes it’s better to figure things out on the fly,” Edmondson said. “When I submitted by first story I really had no idea how this was going to go. I wasn’t really nervous because I never in a million years imagined them picking it up. But if anybody is struggling with the idea of submitting something and worrying about how they’re supposed to navigate the process – don’t. Trust that somebody will walk you through things when the time comes.”
Starting small builds confidence
Edmondson said posting her work to her blog, Missyspublicjunk ultimately turned out to be a huge confidence booster for her.
“When you start something like a blog, you have no idea if anybody is even going to show up to read any of it,” Edmondson said. “But then you see people are reading your stuff and you’re getting good feedback and it’s just a huge confidence builder. If anybody has aspirations of being a writer, I’d tell them not to wait until they get accepted by something like the Chicken Soup series. Just get in the habit of writing and posting things for other people to read.”
But rejection is always part of the process
So embrace it, Edmondson said.
“It’s easier to say this than to do it, but you just can’t fear rejection,” Edmondson said. “These are stories I’ve had published, and I’ve won writing contests with others, but there are plenty of stories that got no traction at all. The local writing festival here – I’ve entered every year and never won a thing, so you just have to harden yourself to it. Writing is a fickle business. I can read something and absolutely love it and somebody else will review it and tear it apart. That’s not always something you can control, so just go for it.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.