Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Guest

Yesterday there was one inaugural blog post here; today, another – that most sought-after slot, the Christmas Day debut! 

I did want to thank Kate Brauning and the rest of the Pub Hub folks for letting me join their merry band. I’ve followed their advice and experiences here for the last year or so, and have considered this my window on the world of the trials, tribulations (and joy) of being a professional author.

You see, I didn’t write for 20 years. Not seriously, not with any consistency. I thought about writing and dreamed about it, always made plans for it, but I was that perpetual “aspiring writer” - the writer who didn’t actually write.

Instead, I got married, had kids; dove into a demanding career…I did everything but write, for nearly two decades. Then, three years ago, I suddenly started writing again, and didn't stop. I searched around online for advice and direction on how to dive into the querying process (some of which I found right here), got incredibly lucky and found a wonderful agent, and just last month signed a deal for my debut novel, as well as its sequel (and hopefully, a whole lot more books after that). In the span of a couple of years, I literally went from not writing at all, to being a “hobbyist writer” (albeit a serious, dedicated one), to now, standing on the brink of being a published, professional author.

It’s exhilarating and terrifying all at that same time, since I’m reminded every day of all the things I don’t know. Like, pretty much everything about the publishing industry (as Kate has come to understand, since she’s entertained -- and been entertained by -- some of my more unusual questions). I’m learning all about contracts and book deals and revisions and the editing process. Before going out on submission, the only person who’d ever even read my book was my agent, and now I have a great and very patient editor who has to remind me how to navigate track changes in Word. I never really had Beta readers or critique partners, never had anyone to discuss the writing I was doing. And although I’ve been very diligent about my writing since taking it up again, now I have real, external deadlines…the weight of real expectations, and the very real fear of failing at this whole thing.

That’s why communities like this are so important, and if there is anything I’ve learned in my very, very short tenure as a “professional author,” it’s that writers as a rule are generous and giving – with their time, their advice, and their support. They’re also pretty good about just picking you up and dusting you off and sending you back into battle when you need that, too. I hope I can return the favor.
So, there’s a helluva lot I don’t know – I’ll probably learn more here than I can teach or share, at least for now. But there’s one thing my lack of knowledge didn't hurt at all, and that was the writing itself. I wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t sat down and started writing again. Real writing, words on the page, day after day, with complete focus, joy, and abandon. It always starts and ends with that. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a great New Year.

Thanks for inviting me over, JTS

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