The other night, I asked Twitter what I should write about for my post this month, and someone said she wanted to hear about the pressures and problems of being a published author—as opposed to tips on how to get published.
It’s a good topic, but before I get to the real meat of the discussion, I’d like to preface it with what looks like it’s going to be part one of ???:
This is something I talk about frequently, but in private, in small, safe places with people who I know won’t say, “I’d give anything to have your problems” or, “Well, at least you’re published.” As if that makes the struggles any less challenging or real. Believe me, I remember what it’s like to want someone else’s problems—what I saw as desierable problems—and I know how blessed and fortunate I am to be able to have writing as a career! It’s very rarely an easy career, though.
And the truth is, it’s a lot simpler to talk about challenges I’ve been through, like hundreds of rejections, or writing seventeen novels before Incarnate was picked up. It’s not always comfortable talking about those things, because I remember the anguish and struggle of being in the middle of all that. But I believe it’s important to talk about them, especially now that I’ve come out on the other side of them, because they’re encouraging stories for others in those same places. It shows them that I survived, and they can, too.
Now that I’m published, it’s a bit different. After all, this is something I want to keep doing, struggles and all. This is the career I wanted. There’s not really another side where I talk about the difficulties but tell people I made it through. And looking at publishing as if it’s one huge thing that will (hopefully) last the rest of my life, that’s pretty overwhelming. It’s much more manageable to break problems into smaller bits and look at them individually.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of good things about being published. Too many to name. (This is probably another reason why authors rarely talk about how difficult it can be — they don’t want to come off as ungrateful. I certainly don’t!) But it’s not all sunshine and flowers once that first contract is signed. For me, writing actually got a lot more difficult.
Which, at this point, is another post, because this one will soon get unwieldy…
(But, with that in mind, I want you to know something: I am surviving. And you can, too.)