First-time author the Bitter & the Sweet

By Steffanie Costigan

Feb. 26, 2024

First blog on my new awesome website was created by Wallaby Designs.

Being a first-time author is bittersweet; bitter because you’re in a new community, a sea full of experienced authors all shouting for attention for their books to get awareness. Constantly competing for your book just to be seen or noticed. 

There are moments I have to admit that are overwhelming and inadequate, moments of bitter doubts where I catch myself thinking, “Why do I try so hard? And yet make such little steps forward.” How am I ever going to make waves in such a big sea full of authors and readers? “Will the message I wrote from my soul make any impact on readers?” 

Sometimes as a writer these negative thoughts can make you forget why you are writing to begin with, make you forget your passion for writing. I write for a living as a local journalist and my passion for writing has been brighter than ever; however, there are days that are so hard for me and I forget my passion. 

Last week was a hard week for me working, pregnant, marketing my book, and my oldest son got a really bad tooth infection that resulted in a hospital visit and a tooth removed. I was feeling pretty discouraged, and disappointed. Frustrated because I wanted my self my book to be so much further than where I am. 

I let my negative thoughts consume me, and I disregarded all my progress with my book Land of the Dragon is currently nominated for different five awards and has made the second cut for two of those awards so far, that I had a great outcome of community support at a book signing, that there are still many opportunities for my book Land of the Dragon to make an impact. I forgot all the sweet moments and was focused on the bitter moments. 

That is when out of nowhere I got an unexpected message from a friend of mine, with one simple and sweet message snaped me out of the bitter focus I was engulfed in. This friend of mine had undergone a big procedure and was recovering in the hospital before she could go home. She messaged me saying “Nothing like a good distraction from pain, then reading. What a blessing this book has been today!” She attached a picture of Land of the Dragon on her hospital table with her reading glasses on top. 

I was speechless and wow did this hit me hard; I realized my book was making an impact, perhaps small but so powerful that it overpowered all the bitter moments and made the hardships worth it. It is small and simple moments like this that make it all worth it, that reunites an author’s passion to burn even brighter. She didn’t realize it, but that simple sweet message liberated me out of the bitterness and into recognizing the sweet.

That is where my passion and my motivation for writing comes from even when it’s hard. If my message within the story can inspire or make even one change in a reader’s heart; then it’s all not in vain, rather I would go through 100 bitters just to have one simple sweet moment of my books message to touch someone and help lift a bitter moment they are burdened with.


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