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The hard yards

Occasionally, I put up depressing, and sometimes not depressing, reports on what it's like trying to become an author, the hurdles and the straight, long sections. This one - I'm not sure which it is.

On the non-depressing note. I am absolutely not complaining here. I am aware how many writing friends I have who would love to be in my position. I was that writing friend a year or so ago. I am lucky - my book is out, I have another two coming out this year (one self published after a long saga regarding agents and markets and wanting it to come out however it does it). I am getting good reviews (and waiting nervously for the first to say they hated, hated, hated my book), my sales are pretty good for a debut, I've had all sorts of online exposure. I'm lucky, lucky, lucky.

But! The downside. I'm also busy, busy, busy. Whether I make it as a writer or not remains to be seen: regardless, I have enough writing work on to keep a full time writer busy. I have, over the next four months:

an edit of book two, and then an editor's edit to do.
a final edit of the self-published book to do, and then the formatting
a new book to write (because we have to keep going at this game.)

On top of that, I have a job, a family who want to see me occasionally, a house to keep hygienic. I have all the plates in the air that a busy woman does. And I'm promoting book one in the middle of it and, like I said above, I've been lucky to have some attention for it, and fantastic local events and interviews. Quite frankly, I have never been as busy in my life as I am now. It is, truly, two jobs at once, and will be for some time. Sadly, one feels a little, shall we say, voluntary. Writing has a long way to go before it pays me any kind of wage. In the long term I'd like to do a little less real work and have proper time for the writing, but that's a long way off.

What I'm telling myself is that this time, this point where I'm in demand enough to have my writing coming out and being read, but not yet successful enough for it to pay a wage, are the hard yards. What I didn't expect was for this time to be the point where the road seems longest, where the effort has both paid off and hasn't. Where I most wish for a crystal ball to tell me where I go next, and if it will all work out. But with all those points in our life where we strive and wish and hope, the only thing to do is hang on in there. To look at the summer and realise my calendar is relatively clear and I will write like the wind and enjoy it. To hold my book and remind myself this was what it was all for - to make my world and characters real, and for others to enjoy them.

To come back to the first point, I'm lucky to be this far, and I'll be even luckier to get further. But there is a need to give a nod to it not being easy, to needing all the grit obtained when being a young writer, getting my first knocks and rejections, and to say to others struggling that this is the game, the way of it, and those hard yards will pay back.

I really, really hope they do.


Here's hoping you can see some financial rewards soon and be able to work only one job. :)
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thanks, both! Cathleen, I wish, I wish... but I think, realistically, it's at least a year away. :)