Resting on my teeny weeny laurels

I’m going to admit something here in the hopes that it stops someone else from making the same mistake I made.
I wrote my first book in a frenzy. I wrote two sequels, also in a frenzy. After many (mis)adventures and excitement I sold the book. Yay! Jubilation and refreshments all around. It was great. After much editorializing the book was published. It took about a year which ain’t long at all but this was a small publisher and they can make things fly.
Here’s where the laurels come in.
This was the first book I’d ever written. I’d started many. I’d written short stories. I’d written snippets of things. I was the Queen of the 3-page diatribe but I usually didn’t think ahead much more than that. But this idea consumed me and excited me and I started writing and kept on writing. And so, after much work, A Book!
I was so proud and pleased. My parents were proud and pleased. And some other good friends. I waited for something big and exciting to happen with the book. There were murmurs of film deals and rumors of foreign rights licensing deals. It received some notice at Frankfurt and Bologna. I rested. I had put so much into this book and it seemed for a long time that it was about to become something bigger. It had potential. I waited. I didn’t want to move on because that would be admitting that that book was done and it was time for another one. and I wasn’t ready for that yet.
Let me say that I didn’t have an agent advising me to write something else (if agents do that kind of thing anyway). It was just me and my hopes and dreams and my publisher and their hopes. Eventually, my editor asked me if I had something else. And I did. I had 2 more manuscripts about the same hero but unfortunately after all the revision I’d done on the first book, they didn’t work anymore. I wrote a new sequel. It was ok but it wasn’t exactly right. I wrote another one. Now it had been about two years since the first book came out. Not an interminable time but long in terms of how our world operates. And eventually it was decided that it was too long a period of time. I’d missed the bus. I didn’t know there was a bus and I didn’t know that I was supposed to be on it.
And during this time I was not just resting (on my laurels), I worked on two adult novels, as well as the sequels, and I may work on them again but right now I want to write for kids. Oh, yeah I was also having a baby.
I’m nearing first draft completion of a new YA book. I am hoping (after a few revisions) to work on it with same excellent free-lance editor I have worked with in the past, and then to submit it to a few literary agencies. I have an idea for a companion book to it, and also a sequel and I will probably write both of those for my own pleasure whether or not I get something going with the WIP or not. I have three or four other ideas for stories I’d like to make happen.
I intend to be a working writer for the rest of my life.
You can’t force writing. I think that there is probably an optimum time to work on a certain idea, and that probably if you choose the wrong time or you plunge in without the necessary fore-thought you risk mucking up the whole thing and sticking it in a drawer where it will never see the light of day. I am not a work-horse of a writer although I’m digging this 1000 word a day goal and I think I’m going to make it my MO from now on, but I am spilling over with ideas and they excite me and they make me happy and it seems only common sense to write them now.

2 thoughts on “Resting on my teeny weeny laurels

  1. Totally hear you on the spilling over with ideas. I’m STILL revising my first marketable (but as of yet unmarketed) ms and at the same time I’m working on a second and third book. My mother (who does not understand why I haven’t been published yet, since everyone and their second cousin seems to be turning into a wrtier nowadays, ah mothers) asked me why I’m still writing when I haven’t even gotten the first ms published. “Because I’ll shrivel up and DIE if I stop writing ma!” I lamented. “But don’t you want to get published?” She persisted. “Shouldn’t you focus on that?” “It could take YEARS.” I informed her. “I’m going to write until they pry the pen from my cold dead fingers, whether or not I’m ever published.” She frowned. “So, getting published ISN’T important? I thought you wanted to make a living writing.” At this point, I hugged her, and left the room, rolling my eyes skyward and shaking my head over the realization that even at 28, I am still my mother’s daughter, and some miscommunications will never change.

    1. Nice to hear from you and good luck getting published. I think it’s common for newbie writers (like me) to kind of sit back once you finally get that deal and expect that it’s all going to be gravy from there on. The truth is that, as you know, writing is hard work (writing a first draft of a book is an accomplishment in itself and if you have the smarts and the energy to revise and polish and revise and polish until it’s ready to go out, then you’re already ahead of the game in my opinion) but everything up to and including being published and afterwards too is equally hard work. So you’d better enjoy the hell out of what you do and be in it for the long haul!

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