Why hello there, Wednesday. I haven't blogged on you for quite a while. It's a great day to blog. Today we're going to be taking a wild and crazy ride inside the last four years (since I started writing). I'm doing this because I think sometimes writers get discouraged at how long things take in publishing.
When I started writing (December 2007), I scoffed at advice I saw on forums. Things like "Take a year off and read."
I was like, "NO WAY ON THIS PLANET IT IS GOING TO TAKE ME A YEAR TO GET PUBLISHED."
Oh, the naivety. (Yes, I had to look up that word to make sure it was the one I wanted to use.) See, I was new. I didn't really get the publishing industry. And most importantly, I hadn't been rejected yet.
Rejection plays a whole new part of the game that maybe we'll talk about later.
So there I was, four years ago in January 2008, with my first novel. And it was not going to take a year to get published. I spent January editing and preparing to query. I started querying, and quickly realized that hey, it might take a year.
After querying for 8 months, I definitely knew it would take a year -- and a heckuva lot longer than that.
What changed my perspective was a tiny conversation with my mother-in-law that I'm sure she doesn't remember. She said she was watching Oprah or something and heard an author say that you have to give everything you do five years.
Give yourself five years to make it as [insert what you want to be].
I seized on that and thought, "I can do this for five years." And then at that point, the plan was to re-evaluate and decide at that time if I should continue pursuing publication or not.
So I continued writing.
January 2009, three years ago: I was frantically preparing my manuscript for submission into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I successfully entered that competition, and I often cite this as the confidence booster I needed to keep writing/querying. (My first novel tanked. Confidence had to come from somewhere!)
January 2010, two years ago: I'd queried for most of 2009 and had signed with my agent in November*. This January found me revising in preparation for submission to editors.**
(See a theme here?)
January 2011***, one year ago: Finally 2011! I'd spent a year waiting for this year. (No, really.) And it found me once again preparing a manuscript for submission. This time it was my second book, SURRENDER.
And here it is, January 2012, and I'll bet you can guess what I'm doing this month.
It really seems like I work in cycles. I write/draft the most in the fall. I edit and revise the most in the winter. I promote and speak and do book launch parties in the spring/summer.
Do you have a time frame for how long you'll stick with this before you re-evaluate your writing career?****
*And yes, it took me less than five years to get published, but longer than one.
**This does not mean that if it takes you longer than five years to publish that you're somehow inferior. That's ridiculous.
***This does not mean that if it takes you less time to publish than it took me that you're somehow superior. That's ridiculous too.
****We all have our own journey.