This week I’ve been thinking about the beacons of light that dot my writing journey — writing “the end” for the first time, receiving that first agent request for a full manuscript, announcing KILMOON’s publication date to everyone I know.
But you know what? Those fabulous moments are fleeting, and you can’t count on them. I hate to be the Grinchy deb as we end this week filled with holiday festivities and friends and family — but this is, ultimately, the truth:
If you’re looking to “arrive,” you’d best cool your jets and keep writing. Because here’s the thing, much of the time you’ll already be on to the next challenge when the glow of success shines its light on you. You finally received a publishing contract? Woohoo! Celebrate that puppy big time — but hopefully you’ve been writing all the while and hopefully you quickly return to thoughts such as: Crap, I have no clue what I’m doing for the next novel. ARGH!
I once took a hike with New York Times bestseller Susan Wiggs. She’s so successful she’s a light all by herself. Of all the topics we talked about, one sticks to this day: rejection never ends. Yep, even she still got rejected on a regular basis. She’d pitch story ideas to her editor and get the thumbs down all the time.
And then there was the time I chatted with another successful author, literary novelist Gail Tsukiyama, and she said that writing had gotten harder over time. Why? Because she knew fiction craft SO well that the days of just writing didn’t exist for her anymore. And there was more at stake too — I imagine that can feel scary.
And, let’s take little ol’ me. KILMOON comes out in less than three months. Do I feel like I’m standing in the light? Nah. I’ve been in “my novel is coming out” mode for months. I’m on to the next tasks: cleaning up my next novel and navigating the world of self-promotion — both of which are vexing me mightily. This doesn’t exactly make me feel like I’ve made it.
Do you lose time when you write? You glance at the clock and an hour zipped past in what felt like five minutes? I love this feeling more than anything. It fills my soul. It’s euphoric. THAT’S when I feel like I’ve made it. The rest of the goodies are the externals — and they’re great — but they don’t keep me coming back for more.