I was thinking the other day (and no, that isn’t the funny part) about my goal to see one of my books in print and I realized just how far I’ve come as a writer.
Let me explain.
When I first entertained the idea of writing a book and actually getting it published it was as far away from reality for me as the possibility that I might one day walk on the moon. I knew I enjoyed writing and I felt I could probably write something decent if I was given enough time. I just never expected anyone to want to read my work.
After I finished writing my first book, I actually started to think I could pull it off. I got some questionable feedback on that particular piece of writing that immediately crushed my confidence. Still, I kept writing and getting better.
During the writing of my second book (during NanoWriMo) I thought I might be onto something. I wrote the story in first person and actually found myself laughing and alternately tearing up during the writing process. It was the first time I ever wrote anything that affected me emotionally. After editing the story I thought it might have a chance. After getting my first request for a full manuscript from a publisher I knew I was onto something.
Fast forward to the other day. I was thinking about how much I hate waiting to hear about my books. In fact, you have likely read me complaining about that very thing. It was then that I realized something; I have not one, but TWO books out there that have legitimate chances of getting published. That’s when I re-evaluated my original goal and realized that I’m not so far away from achieving it and, in fact, exceeding it.
And here I am complaining about waiting.
That’s when I had to take a step back and really take a close look at myself. Apparently, I have grown more confidence in my skills over the past few years if I can allow myself to bitch about a little thing like not getting instant gratification.
Now before I go any further, I want to be very clear about something: my complaint is not and has never been against the publishers and editors who are taking the time to read my manuscripts. I know several publishers (and editors) and they are extemely dedicated… and EXTREMELY overworked. They hate making writer’s wait almost as much as they hate turning down manuscripts. No, what I hate is not getting that instant gratification I mentioned earlier.
After I finished laughing (in my head only; people always look funny at me when I burst out laughing out loud for no apparent reason) at myself I continued to self analyse myself. I thought about a comment by J.C. Hutchins during our interview for ‘Get Published’. He said he makes his stories as good as he can, sends them out (I’m paraphrasing here) and moves on to the next work. To sit idle, waiting and being impatient serves no positive purpose and could actually move you in the wrong direction.
His comments sounded a little too close to home for my comfort.
Granted, I stopped writing new stuff so I could get my existing work in a submissable format and I sent them out. I still think that was a legitimate decision to make. Now that I’ve done that, it’s time to write something new. Oh yeah, and I’ve got to look forward.
What do I want out of my writing AFTER that first (and possibly second) book gets published?
Well, I have a five-book goal. It goes something like this: by the time I have five books in print I should (theoretically) being earning enough recurring revenue from royalties that I can write full-time. Great goal to have but it assumes that my books are still available and selling well. To achieve that I’m going to have to do some planning and even more work. Time to get onto that too.
Should I get an agent? Based on my conversations with other authors I would say “ABSOLUTELY!” An agent has resources I cannot even begin to dream of: access to publishers of big presses, movie and television studios, graphic novels and so on.
Sounds like I’m dreaming big, doesn’t it? As the saying goes, “Go big or go home”.
As of now, I am through complaining about waiting. It’s time to look forward and make sure I’m ready when success comes.
I just sent my completed manuscript in to my publisher. With luck we will be working on a contract later this month.