Two weeks ago I submitted my second novel to the publisher. I have been working on it for over a year. It took up my summer vacation. It filled my free time with worry, and my work time with anxiety. When I wasn’t working on it, it was there in the back of my mind, festering like a toothache, demanding to be heard. People asked how I managed to get this one written. With a full time job at school and a full time job as wife and mom, not to mention the many other hats I often wear, the answer is…half an hour at a time. I can’t tell you how good it felt to hit send on that e-mail. And yet, it’s still there, in the back of my mind–How long until I hear back from them? Maybe I should have included another scene. Maybe it’s total garbage and they’ll hate it. I’ve come to realize that as a writer, this is life. The questions, the uncertainty, the nagging is always there along with characters that need their story told, landscapes that would make the perfect setting, and plots that constantly twist and turn my mind into mush. And I love it!
Now it’s time to refocus. It’s time to get back to blogging (shoot me now please!) and marketing and promoting On the Way Home. It’s time to think about blog tours, library talks, reading groups and bookstores…all the things that make my insides quiver and my mind go blank. Sure, I can write a novel. But can I sell a novel? This seems to really be the big question in today’s world. There are many great writers out there, just as there are great artists and musicians. But as I have learned, it takes more than being good or even great at something to make your dream a reality. If you can’t get the word out to the world about whatever it is you are selling, it doesn’t matter how wonderful it is, it will go no where.
I took a continuing education class over the summer to beef up my computer skills and as I talked with some of the others in the class, one of the continuing complaints was, “I didn’t know when I became a musician, an artist (or baker, or candlestick maker) that I had to become a businessman too. I just want to paint!” Which is exactly how I feel. I just want to write. I want to focus on my characters not my blog. I want to talk to other writers about perfecting my craft, not about marketing strategies. I don’t want to have to divide my rare and precious time between writing and selling. The one I love, the other I hate. But the fact is, I can’t do one without the other and have any kind of success. Writing without promoting yourself would be living like Emily Dickinson. She did a lot of writing in her life, but no one knew who she was until she died. I don’t want to wait that long!
So I am recommitting myself to the whole package. It scares me and it’s hard for me, but nothing that is worth it is easy! So with my morning Zumba done, followed by a generous slice of pumpkin pie (I know, don’t say it), I’m ready to begin again!