It's been THREE years since Tina, Emily, Kate and Deena invited me to be a part of this blog. Can you believe it? At that time, I was looking forward to my debut novel, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME releasing in January.
Since then, I've published three more novels, with two more coming out next year. I've quit my day job and, for the time being, am making a go at being a full-time author. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm enjoying it while I can.
It's been wonderful sharing the last three years with my friends here at Author2Author and all of YOU! In some ways, it feels like just yesterday when I was looking forward to my debut novel releasing and in other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago. Some things I've learned these past few years:
- The waiting never stops. There is ALWAYS waiting - waiting for revisions, waiting to see the cover, waiting for the advance check, waiting to hear on a new project, waiting, waiting, waiting. If you can do one thing, figure out how to deal with the endless amount of waiting there is in this business.
- There will always be people who have it better than you. Don't waste time and energy comparing yourself to others, wishing someone else's story could be your story. Trust that you are on the right path for YOU, and that things happen for a reason. It's hard to imagine, but we often become grateful for the disappointments we experience today, even if it's because they make us stronger.
- Have people you can talk to privately about your frustrations. This is a hard business. Brutal at times. Have friends you can e-mail or call when you want to scream or cry, because most of the time, it's not a good idea to do it on-line for the world to see. And remember to have a life outside of your writing life too. That way, I think it's easier to swallow the disappointment because you have other happy things going on in your life to focus on. As Sara Zarr so eloquently said one time in an interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith, "A book is a wonderful, miraculous thing. But in some sense, it's also just a book."
- When it comes to social networking, do what you love and what you have time for. I don't think you should do so much that you sacrifice other things, like writing time or family time. After all, there's no real proof that shows social networking makes any significant difference in sales. Do it because you enjoy it and anything beyond that is icing on the cupcake. If it starts to feel like it's too much, it's perfectly okay to step back, evaluate priorities, and make changes as necessary.