How do you measure a year?
A year ago I was ready to quit writing.
Quitting might have been healthier for me – mentally, physically, psychologically – but like any addiction, it also would have killed me to quit. If I go too long without adding at least a scene to whatever wip I’m in, I jones.
So I didn’t quit.
And within days, my super fabulous agent told me I had a three-book deal, I immediately applied for PAN, and now a year later, I still can’t believe I’m a published author. I produced a piece of work that someone else thought was strong enough to publish, and now strangers judge my characters, setting, plot, me.
But a year ago, the beginning of my career as a published author was also the end of a journey, a journey that almost destroyed my dreams.
When I first realized I could draft a novel, finish it, revise it, and query it, the blank page was fresh and new and filled with promises and possibilities. Yippee!
Each query letter to each agent was well-researched, and despite the rejections, the partial and full requests made me feel wanted. Yippee!
Once my perfect Agency found me, and editors read my manuscripts, an avalanche of insecurities barreled down on me. Suddenly publishing professionals found my work – me – lacking. What happened to the good old days, when my critique partners said I was brilliant and agents wanted to represent me?
It was like getting invited to a party by a friend (agent) and then realizing the hostess (editor) doesn’t want you there.
Blank pages filled me with dread.
All those ideas I had? Seemed stupid.
My critique partners lied to me. My work sucked. Editors said so. Maybe not to my face, but I knew they thought it. I wasted so much time and energy on stuff I couldn’t change.
But my super fabulous agent talked me back from the cliff.
It took me a long time to realize what was in my control and what was out of my control. Sometimes I still don’t know, and I still notice the negativity, but I’m getting better at pushing it to the back of my mind. I’m prioritizing with positive thoughts and making time to be thankful – oh so thankful – for so much.
A year ago I was ready to quit writing. Now I measure my year in word count and client submissions, smiles, phone calls, and tweets and retweets, good news, great news, and fabulous news, and hugs. So many hugs.
How do you measure your year?