Tip of the Day: If you write for teens, you should check out the show "Friday Night Lights." Great writing. Great story lines. Great characters! Tonight, NBC, be there or be square.
Agent Nathan Bransford had an AWESOME blog post yesterday that he called "Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer." It’s worth reading, and I hope you do.
I thought I’d talk about one of his commandments here today, because I’m curious what people think about this one in particular.
"4. Don't neglect your friends and family. No book is worth losing a friend, losing a spouse, losing crucial time with your children. Hear me? NO book is worth it. Not one. Not a bestseller, not a passion project, nothing. Friends and family first. THEN writing. Writing is not an excuse to neglect your friends and family. Unless you don't like them very much."
When you read this, at first you go, well, DUH. Of course family and friends are more important than a book.
But think about this for a minute. We all know writing a book takes time. And dedication. A LOT of time. A LOT of dedication. Is it realistic that the relationships with your family and friends won’t suffer some times?
This weekend I have two books to revise. They are under contract. I have no choice – I have to work on them, because there are deadlines and all those fun things. So, this weekend, my writing comes first. I’m guessing Nathan understands there will be times when writing has to come first. So perhaps this is just a friendly reminder that it shouldn’t *always* come first. In fact, it probably shouldn’t come first very often.
However, I have seen people who seem SO driven to get a book published, they way they talk about writing and how much time they spend writing, sometimes I wonder if they do anything else BUT write. And I think that’s kind of sad. Because in the end, not a lot changes when you have a book on the shelf. Okay, things change, of course they do. But, for me, not a lot, really. For other more successful authors, things probably change more. I still go to my job 4 days a week. I still go grocery shopping and make sure my family is fed every day. I clean the toilets every other Saturday (except when I can get my kids do it). If anything, what’s changed is that my life is more hectic than it would be if I wasn’t published. I have to juggle my normal life with my authorly life and it’s HARD.
So why the drive? Why do people become so driven they start to neglect other things, to the point that relationships suffer and they risk losing important people in their lives? Is there a need to feel like his/her life has some kind of worth, and he/she thinks a published book will provide that? Because I’m here to tell you, it really doesn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to have books published. I'm thankful for the little bit of extra money it's brought in. I’m thankful for the people who have written to me and said my book touched them. I’m thankful for ALL the incredible authors I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made. There are definitely good things that come along with it. But do they outweigh the struggles overall? I don't think I can answer yet, but just the fact that I can't answer with a resounding YES says something, doesn't it?
So those of you who aren't published - are there changes in your life you hope publishing brings? Do you think it's worth losing family and/or friends to become published, if that's what it takes?
~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career