My first year or so teaching, I remember clearly sitting the teacher’s lounge talking with ‘veteran’ teachers. There was a great mix of age range and experience at my school — it was a very bonded staff, one that worked and partied hard. They were fun and they shared an awful lot of wisdom with me.

One of the things many of them told me was that teaching today was much harder than it was ten to twenty years prior. A few even said that if they had to start in teaching today, they would never do it.

It’s the way I’m beginning to feel about writing. And maybe it’s all a matter of perspective at this point, maybe it’s always been a huge struggle to get published and it’s just a bigger deal today because of the blogs and lists, because this information is more accessible. But it just seems harder. A daunting task, which is why so many alternatives to the big NY publishing houses are cropping up.

And then there’s the market and what it will bear. And I’ve thought about it and researched it and hell if I know what to do. Because my first problem is the profession of many of my main characters, the SEALs.

Suzanne Brockmann has that market. Yes, others write SEALs, readers want more SEAL books (I am one of them, so I know) but will an editor look at a proposal and go, “Hmmm, SEALs. Nope, been done.” And Editors have said that, pushed people into creating their own spec op groups, which isn’t a bad idea. I’ve discussed it at length with Katie. The problem is that I’m stubborn. Tell me I can’t write about something and that’s all I want to do.

So that’s where I’m at. Scrapping all my past mss (except FB) and starting over. With Navy SEALs or with a specially created spec ops group — I don’t know yet. Mourning the SEALs is hard. Agent is gone, and that needed to be done. It was an experience that makes me shy away from ever having an agent again. Stop writing? I can’t. I’ve tried — it will not work. It’s in me so deeply that it would be an impossible thing to cut loose from my life.

So that’s where I’ve been on my extended blogging vacation. Soul-searching. I still haven’t come up with any answers at all, but at least I’m back on the boards.

Steph T.