Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Reader Request: Changes

Well, I got so many great suggestions and requests in response to my You Tell Me post on Monday that I've decided to kickstart the requests today. At last count I had 9 suggestions in the comments and 6 emails, so I have more than enough to cover the next ten weeks and beyond!

Having picked a topic at random, today I'm going to be talking about Alex J. Cavanaugh's. He commented with:

Are you ready for the changes being a published author will cause in your life? 

The short answer: no. Not even a little bit.

The slightly better answer:

Being published is a huge thing, as anyone who has been/will be/is trying to be will understand. It's the thing many authors spend years working towards. I know I did. And given I spent roughly seven years getting to this point, you'd have thought I'd be prepared. I've read the blogs. Done the research. Read countless novels in my genre. Written and rewritten and written some more. So why on earth wouldn't I be ready for the changes being a published author will cause in my life?

Quite simply, it's because those changes are beyond anything you (probably) expected. 

Some are tiny little adjustments, like remembering that there is an agent and/or editor on the other end of cyberspace that you can email or chat to anytime you need help or advice.

Others are bigger changes, like being the kind of writer who only writes when she wants to and feels inspired for seven years (ahem, me), only to discover that now it's work, it's a real job (though certain ladies on buses may not agree) and, like any other job, you've got to do it even on days when you don't fancy it.

Now short of selling film rights for millions (ha!), shooting straight to the top of every bestseller list within a week of the book's release (double ha), and receiving invitations to every awards ceremony for the next ten years (triple?), I don't think there are many single changes that will completely alter your life. The experience of being published, of making that dream come true - yes, that changes your life. 

But the actual consequences of being published? No, I think it's very possible that these changes won't exactly shake the foundations of life as you know it.

My book won't be out until the latter part of 2012, so I don't actually have any idea what changes actual publication will cause in my life. Maybe I'll have to reorganize my work schedule so that promoting my book takes up a huge chunk of it. Maybe I'll be able to tell someone who asks that I'm an author, and they'll ask me what I've written, and I'll tell them, and they might actually recognize it. Maybe I'll have to get used to bracing myself for bad/hurtful reviews.

I don't know. So I'm not ready for that.

On the other hand, I think I'm coping pretty well with the changes having a book deal has caused. It's not easy waking up, wanting to go back to sleep and forcing myself out of bed because I have to work on my book, but I do it and I'm getting used to it. It's tough dealing with the pressure of deadlines and knowing that every time I 'finish' a round of revisions, my work will be scrutinized by at least two other people - and that it might be deemed not good enough. 

And it's amazing - and unsettling - to feel like I made it. Not to fame, not to fortune, but I've made that dream come true: I have a book deal. I've spent so long thinking 'I haven't made it yet, but I'm trying' and 'I'll never make it' that it's a huge change to realize it's happened at last.

So am I ready for the changes being a published author has and will cause in my life? No, not really. But it hasn't stopped me having fun with it.

I don't think you need to be ready for the changes. Just enjoy bumping and bouncing along.


  1. It sounds like you are advocating pantsing the changes being published will incur... Coincidence? ; j

  2. Bumping and bouncing is a good way to describe it. And there are changes that will change your life, but you'll just have to go through it to discover what those are.
    Above all else, enjoy the ride!

  3. Oh that's really interesting. It's so easy for us non-authors to think of writing as this vague artistic sort of thing and not realise quite how much hard work it actually is. Hope all is going well with the revisions.

  4. That's a great outlook. I don't think you ever can be ready, completely. You just have to enjoy the process and go with it!