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Relief For Writers

Gia Sola -- March 31, 2008

If we were in a meeting right now, a twelve step support-group kind of meeting, I'd be sharing this story about my writing life to show you how far I fell and to tell you how I was saved. But instead of our sitting in a room together, maybe drinking coffee like they do at AA, we sit alone at our computers, a dictionary in one hand, pencil in the other.

My introduction, however, may sound familiar. Hello, my name is Gia. I'm a writer. I'm here because of my addiction to words. I've written millions of them. Over the course of my work in the corporate world, I tossed them off as easily as a happy hour cocktail. But like the morning after, it often left me with a headache. Even the words I grew and bottled myself ultimately became toxic to my system. They were my words, but I didn't own them; couldn't even take them home for a one night stand. I was hitting the thesaurus too often on a meaningless search for abject adjectives and soon realized I needed an intervention to save my sentences.

So I left the board room and the press room to those with stomachs stronger than mine. I wasn't one who could slip in and out of my identity togs at will, one able to go undercover with a day job, while exposing my soul under the midnight oil.

But even as I stepped away from the corporate grind, I couldn't escape the paper mill. I had to keep writing. Soon, my words were turning into sentences that became paragraphs that covered page after page of an alphabet soup which ultimately took over my life, changing my routine, affecting my relationships, robbing me of rest. It was as if I'd gone to war. Soon there were crumbs imbedded in the keyboard, empty bottles and glasses lined up on the shelf like soldiers, reams of research ammunition covering my desk. I hadn't been prepared for such an onslaught. I didn't want to do it, but I had to. I was compelled to write.

My words came together in dozens of stories, found solace in hundreds of essays, kept me connected through thousands of personal letters that asked for critique, if not forgiveness. It was serious business.

Yet I wasn't making any submissions. And some of my friends thought it was becoming a problem. They suggested I wasn't serious at all; that if I were, I'd seek some form of help. I shrugged them off. Instead, I tried to solve it myself by writing online under my pen name. I launched The Gia Spot, a somewhat edgy blog that never really took the edge off. There was so much tongue-in-cheek, I nearly choked.

So, yes, I used to have a problem. And even as I believed I could handle it alone, I dismissed the warning signs. I wasn't sharing my work with colleagues, wasn't even making queries. I wasn't looking to be published, I said to anyone who'd listen. They knew I was a liar. I could say it was difficult, but would rather use a word I've used here once before. Hard. Yes, it was hard. I lost my way. I lost my faith. I almost went too far. I tried selling myself on the street as an editor, was pandering to a select clientele, again putting out words I didn't own. I'd returned to the point where I'd started.

And so, finally, I sought help and found relief. I found Writer's Relief.

Writer's Relief, Inc., is an authors' submission service based in Hackensack, New Jersey. They reviewed three samples of my work and accepted me as a client, taking over the business end of getting published -- so all I have to do is write. For 14 years, Writer's Relief has helped writers write by locating the markets, preparing the cover letters, even the labels. And they keep the submission lists updated on their own database, which you can access whenever you want. They offer proofing, a minor edit, a newsletter, sources for resources, and pep talks. For me, they've also acted as something of a muse. My first short story submission began its rounds last year at the end of May. My second in July. My third went out in September, my fourth in November, my fifth greeted the New Year, and I let my sixth submission fly this spring.

It's worked for me. If you think it might work for you, check them out at http://www.writersrelief.com.