I tried not to make any grandiose resolutions this new year; eat more veggies, get back into yoga, and as always, GET PUBLISHED.
2014 was great in many ways. And yet I simultaneously feel closer than ever to being an author and much further away. All this priceless learning experience only emphasizes how much work lies ahead. I surround myself with amazing writers and the resources out there are infinite. My brain may explode from what I learned about writing and the industry last year alone. And yet ignorance is bliss. Remember when I first started out and I thought, okay I’ll just write this book, do a little magic, and poof I’ll be published. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought it would be easy, but I never thought it’d be so damn complicated.
My big concerns: What’s Next and Time Management
What are my priorities as a writer just starting out? When do I start reaching out to agents and publishers? When do I start going to writer conventions? When do I get business cards with my name/email/twitter/website on them and hand them out? When do I start sending out query letters? Do I need to fatten my portfolio with published short stories? What if my short stories are nothing like my novels, will a publisher still give a flying fig then? I have several MS drafts, which one do I focus on? How do I know when I’m ready for alpha and beta readers? Do I self-publish, or go the traditional route? Do I start by self-publishing and hope that leads to a traditional publisher? Is it more lucrative these days to go at it alone? And on and on and on.
It’s hard enough to find time for my writing career between my paying job, my husband and family, my active lifestyle, and my social life. Even only working thirty hours a week, I find myself struggling to know where I should focus my attention. The rest of the world keeps on turning, expecting me as I was, and yet I struggle to etch out as much time to work on writing. Good-golly, it’s exhausting. There’s writing and editing your own work, but there is also social media to get your name out there, blogging to stay relevant, journaling, writing contests, short story submissions, writing groups, critique groups, conventions, classes, podcasts, online tutorials and somehow I still need to find time to read.
Where do people trying to break into the business find the time? Where do people in the business find the time, because surely then they have even more on their plate with talks, tours and online presence?
Perhaps, I should have a more strict schedule. Allot certain amounts of time each day for my work and my work alone, no ifs, ands, or buts. Then figure the rest as it comes at me? I have no idea what I'm doing! Does anybody?
It’s crazy overwhelming. Why anybody would want to get into this business beats me.
Reminds me of this quote by Dorothy Parker, humorist, writer, birthday twin and all around badass, “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
Very few get into writing for fame or money, obviously, but it doesn’t make it any easier when your slugging through masses trying to make a name for yourself. The thing I heard on the “Writing Excuses” podcast that really put things in perspective for me was that even if I never got paid, even if my books never get selected, even if I gave up on a writing career, I’d still write. I couldn’t stop writing, especially not now. I love writing. I love thinking about my stories and my characters and that wouldn’t stop even if I gave up on trying to live off it.
But I don’t give up. I won’t give up. It’s hard as hell, but I guess I know that’s how it is worth it.
Listening to: “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young