Happy Wednesday all!
I was thinking about various stages of a writer's life-not career, but life.
We're excited when we first sit down to create something out of nothing. I still recall a bit from my first "attempt" at a book when I was 13. The section I remember had to do with the brother of my character stubbing his toe on his surfboard in the hall. I don't recall much about the story and since I never got very far I'm not surprised. Mostly I just had an urge to see what I could create. Sort of like picking up some paints and playing. It was cool to see my ideas typed out though...but then boys came along and I moved on.
A few years later, I had an idea for a story. A real one this time-LOL. I LOVED seeing my words in type! (Yes a typewriter folks-- young ones, get your folks to explain it to you ;)). I was still very excited, but very distracted. I don’t think anyone outside of my family knew what I was doing. It wasn’t a secret per se- it just wasn’t something that came up while chasing guys ;) (Yes there was a trend in my youth ;)). This book, a SF adventure with a lead character named Vaslisha Tor Dain (I stole her name years later for the Warrior Wench- although is it stealing if you stole from yourself?) was fun…but I lost interest after about 175 pages. Always meant to go back to it, but never did.
Still more years later (we don’t need to discuss the numbers here ;)) I started Essence of Chaos. A fantasy trilogy of full geek standing, and I was more self conscious this time. I found I wrote better by hand and cranked out an over 700 page first draft. I still recall when I typed “The End” on that massive beast. It felt so flipping good! Some close friends knew what I was doing, and as I started on book two, I told more. I did some editing, got book one typed into a computer, and sent out for a round of rejections. It was still too dang big. Emotionally, I was sorta self conscious about writing. I didn’t know any other writers and it just felt like my friends humored me. Went back to school to get my Master’s degree- sat the writing aside.
A few years ago I started working at SDSU. My writing was mostly just poking at the Essence of Chaos with a stick from time to time, and shleping around some short stories. I had lunch with one of my co-workers who I didn’t know very well yet and somehow we got to talking about books, and writing. I told her I wrote and she didn’t mock me or pat me on the head. She wanted to READ IT. My friend (waves to Sandi Jordan) rekindled my interest in my books and my writing as she went through the first book. Talking with her about characters, plot, etc got me ready to write something new. I joined the RWA to get in touch with more writers (since there isn’t a similar group for SF/F writers). Soon Warrior Wench ( SF), The Glass Gargoyle of the Last Elven King (light fantasy), and A Curious Invasion (steampunk) were born.
Emboldened by my dear friend Sandi, and my new friends in the RWA, I hit the rejection circuit again. All the while still working on new projects. Last year I didn’t submit at all to give myself time to work on my craft (and finish two and a half of the above named books).
Now I’m editing, working on yet another project (The Four Dragons of the Apocalypse), and submitting. Two recent events told me I’d moved into another writing stage. First, I met this great agent at the RT convention. He doesn’t take my genre, but really liked the Glass Gargoyle story and wanted to see it (I was on cloud nine lemme tell ya!). He was a very cool guy and I would have loved to work with him. I KNEW if he rejected me it was going to hurt bad.
Then he rejected me.
And I survived! LOL! As I sat there waiting for the massive stabs of loserdom to hit- I realized they were a no show. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew this guy was a long shot being as he doesn’t do my genres- any of them! But he was so dang cool! And his rejection just made me mentally go “next”.
The other event that made me realize I’m moving on to another level was the discovery that my ending on my steampunk SUCKED. Massively sucked big time to horrifying proportions in fact. I hadn’t looked at this book since I finished it last fall, and I knew I rushed the ending. But when I realized how awful it was I didn’t freak, I didn’t panic, I just went “well, that’s not good” and started re-writing the dang ending.
In both of the later two cases, the old writer me would have freaked, broken down, curled in a corner, or at least eaten too much chocolate. Instead, I just mentally shrugged and moved on.
I think I’m getting it into my head that this is a CAREER not a one-shot deal. Having multiple projects (and another just popped up) really helps remind me- if these don’t sell, maybe the next one will.
I’m looking forward to the next stage of my writing life, and that time when I finally get my books out there to be read by the public.
Where are you on your writing stages?