It’s cold in here. I’m sitting in the corner, bundled up as I stave off the air conditioner that refuses to quit running. Thanks to an unseasonably warm Florida fall, most buildings are keeping their spaces unbearably cool. Perhaps this is our only means for experiencing fall weather here in the Sunshine State.
The cafe is loud, but I don’t mind because I can smell the stories in the air. The scent of imagination mingles with that of my Cinnamon Spice hot tea, and I feel heady with delight.
If I had my choice, I’d hunker down in more intimate location. Barnes and Noble is a chain, and the cookie cutter nature of this space is less delightful. But still…the books.
I love books. I love words. I love imaginative storytelling.
As a new author, I have such a deep appreciation for the work that went into these books. I had no idea. Writing looks romantic on TV. It’s grittier in real life.
Writing isn’t just sitting in front of a typewriter in a quiet, breezy room tapping rhythmically on a typewriter. Mainly because no one uses typewriters anymore.
But also because writing is awful lot of sitting in front of the screen and staring at a blank page until some muse chooses to show. It’s hard, and solitary, and feels an awful lot like bleeding openly for the world to see.
Then you put your book out there, and you ask everyone what they think. And they can choose whether or not to love this work of your heart.
In short, writing is a profession of vulnerability.
Writers pour their hearts and souls into their stories, and then, if they’re willing to wait and fight for their stories, they find a publisher willing to print their words on paper. After all that, they turn their books in to the waiting publisher, and it’s all VICTORY! YOU DID IT!
Now get to work.
Authoring a book is more than just writing pretty words, and finding a publisher. There is marketing and promotion, pulling together a launch team, and finding endorsements.
Writers have to get their books in front of people who are willing to read them.
Launching a book may be the hardest and scariest part of the publishing journey. It is the moment when writers feel the most vulnerable, because this is when others decide is the work is worthy of their endorsement.
In the rocky soil of Texas, there’s a yearly beauty that springs up. Bluebonnets carpet the hot ground each spring, blanketing the state in vibrant color, and they always spring up from the rocks.
In an environment that seems completely unconducive to growth, bluebonnets defy the odds and bring beauty to the landscape.
You writers are doing the same. The terrain is rocky, saturated with others already fulfilling publishing dreams, and it seems that everyone else is springing up, and you wonder if there’s any space for you.
Dear writers – I want you to know that I’m standing in the gap for you. I see more than ever before the fight it takes to get a book to market, and I want you to know I’m on your side.
You’re doing hard things. You’re writing every day, sharing stories and messages with a world that needs to hear them.
You’re facing rejection, fighting to get your words out into a void already full of great works. But you believe you have something to add, so you don’t give up. This is hard, and I admire your tenacity.
You’re putting yourself in vulnerable positions, emailing friends, and perfect strangers, to ask for endorsements. You’re asking people to decide if your words are worthy of a recommendation, and it’s terrifying. I see you, and I’m for you.
You’re sharing your gifts with a small group, but longing to see that message spread to a wiser audience. As you seek to plant yourself in this rocky terrain, I want you to know I see you and you’re doing a good job.
[Tweet “Vulnerability is the precursor to a dream come true.”]
Writer friends – don’t be afraid of the hard things. Keep typing those words and sending those awkward emails. Keep putting yourself out there, because beauty grows in the rocky places, and your dreams are beautiful.
I hear this question every so often, and my first response is, “Super glamorous. I am practically famous. My office smells of rich mahogany.”
That’s a total lie.
Right now my office smells like a dirty diaper because it sits just outside the baby’s room, and I desperately need to empty the diaper pail. Nobody knows my name (except the twelve of you who consistently still read here – thank you!), and if you call yoga pants, a rumpled t-shirt, unwashed hair, and blood shot eyes glamorous then you’d make at least a portion of that statement true.
My life consists of fitting it all into the cracks of my day. In his book, On Writing, Stephen King shares his writing schedule with his readers. It consists of writing three – four hours every day, allowing him to finish most manuscripts within three months.
That’s almost like my schedule, only the complete opposite. Every morning, I wake up at 5:00 (except when I don’t), and try to make my brain write pretty sentences before coffee. Sometimes I am quite successful. Other times I just scroll through Facebook for an hour, kicking myself for not sleeping longer.
I wonder if Stephen King gets lost in Facebook when he’s procrastinating?
I wonder if his office smells of dirty diaper?
With school beginning this week, I’ve found that those cracks in my day have become a bit more narrow, but at least they’re predictable. With a twenty-minute mid-morning snack break, and an hour for lunch, I’m quite certain that my productivity will skyrocket this school year.
Because we writers love penning our words with the shrill shriek of children in the background. It really helps keep the mental juices flowing in an orderly fashion. My lunch time writing usually goes something like this:
Sit down and stare at the screen.
Try to remember where I was going with that last paragraph. Know in my heart it was probably going to be brilliant, but now it’s gone forever.
Get up and investigate the crash that just came from a bedroom.
Sit down and stare the the screen.
Try to remember what I was thinking about before I got up.
Get up and dig dog food out of the baby’s mouth.
Sit down and stare at the screen.
Try to remember what this book is about.
Get up and yell at the kids to quit fighting gently remind the children to play nice.
Sit down and stare at the screen.
Open Facebook and tell myself it’s research.
When the kids finally fall asleep at night, I usually flop onto the couch longing for nothing more than to shut my brain off and watch a little mindless television. Sure, TBS – I’d love to watch Legally Blonde for the 4 millionth time.
But then I remember that pesky deadline, and all the work that needs to be done in the next twelve months, so I pull out my computer, open up the file and stare at the words, then wait for them to stop swimming around on the screen. When they don’t, I sigh and pull myself up again for a mighty search through the house for my glasses, which magically disappear any time I need them.
When I finally locate the wily spectacles (why were they on the back of the toilet again?!) I set to work. Nighttime is for editing because the brain is too fried to write stories.
Unless those stories are blog posts about what it’s like to be a writer.
If I’m lucky, I crawl back into bed around 10:30, and I pick up a book because good writers must be readers. At 10:42, I fall asleep reading, dropping the book on my face in the process.
That’s my favorite part of this writerly life.
I sleep soundly most night, except for the ones where I see characters and outlines in my head all night long, at which point I toss and turn and clench my jaw until 5:00 rolls around, and I pull myself from bed again.
Only to have forgotten every single thought I’d had through the night.
What’s it like to be a writer?
I get to wear yoga pants, drink endless cups of coffee, and stay home with my kids. Glamorous?
But pretty dang cool, nonetheless.
My novel releases this spring, and I can’t wait to share it with you! In the meantime, I’m busy putting together a couple of ebooks to share with my email subscribers, and will hopefully have a little site redesign done sometime this fall. I’d love for you to sign up so I can keep you up to speed on all the exciting things coming down the pike! If you’re interested, just leave me your email address in the little box to the right and click Sign Me Up!
Happy Friday, everyone!
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