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The bipolar life of writing

Although I’ve been writing all of my life and spent many weeknights and weekends working on creative pieces, I’m fairly new to the author’s profession. Twist of Fate will be the first book I’ve had published. Like my coauthor and mother, I wish I’d started earlier; but I’m ever so glad I finally got around to it.

However, I have to admit being an author is driving me insane.

You get to the end of that first draft, and you’re ecstatic. Finally, I’ve finished a whole book. You celebrate with a glass of cheap wine and a bubble bath. The next day, you begin reading through it again and realize how much work there is yet to be done. That’s a tough morning, but you get through it, and you settle back into your writing routine. Many more weeks of work pass. A second draft, a third draft, and one day you just realize: this is as done as I can be. You’re ecstatic—you’re finished at last. You celebrate with an expensive glass of fine wine and a massage.

But then the real work begins—you need to find a publisher. You become your own secretary spending months researching on the Internet, narrowing the list of places to solicit to those that might be interested in your story. Then, 55 rejection letters and many crying jags later, you receive two emails in the same day asking for more info, the full manuscript. A contract arrives. You’re ecstatic. You pop open the bubbly—real champagne. You take your husband to dinner.

And then the real waiting begins. The publisher has a lot of projects in the hopper and an editing/approval process to get through with each one. You understand that reality, but begin biting your nails as weeks, then months go by. You get back comments from the publisher, go through several more drafts, keep your spirits going in between drafts by writing, writing, writing on other projects. Your hair gets a little grayer. You add a few worry lines. A mock-up of the cover arrives, and you try hard not to run screaming through the neighborhood: the book is coming, the book is coming!

Then one day, an email arrives that sends you over the top: “Twist of Fate’s publication date will be mid October.” It’s time to buy champagne for the entire neighborhood, massages for all your favorite friends, dinners for your entire family and gift baskets for every person who helped with the book.

OK. That last bit didn’t really happen yet, and I’m trying hard to contain my urges to celebrate. But I can see that being an author is dangerous – at best you’ll go broke. And at worst, you’ll be glad several of your dear friends are psychologists!

—Genilee Swope parente

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

The art of patience

Although my title suggests I’m about to give you tips on how to live through that awful period of “radio silence” when your editor is giving a final polish to your book and you have no publication date yet but many people asking when they can see your creation, I’m afraid I can’t do that. I can only tell you there is no “art” involved with patience. Only fingernail biting and finding ways to keep going instead of losing steam or getting angry with promises that don’t arrive when you expect them.

Patience, as the saying goes, is a virtue, and one that doesn’t come naturally to most of us.

You’ve spent every free moment for the last year and a half writing, squeezed out as much material as you can from the cells in your brain that birth creativity, put feelings and emotions you didn’t know you had into your work. So why do you have to wait to share it with the world?

I say it’s because you are not writing just for yourself, but for your readers. If you care enough about what you do to want to get it into the hands of the right audience – the people who feel something similar to what you felt when you created your masterpiece in the first place – you have to take the right steps. In the publishing world, that means waiting for the decision makers – editors, production people, then the marketing staff – to do their jobs and do them right. They are in the business to make money and if you’ve placed your creation in their hands and they asked for a contract, that means they believe in your project. But they need time to make it happen.

Only a handful of artists are lucky enough not be forced to play the waiting game, and that handful probably doesn’t appreciate success to the degree that you will if you stick it out. The important thing is to never give up.

And while you’re waiting, work on the less polished aspects of your art. Finish that second book; write a short story; start a blog. You’re supposed to be an artist, and that means, you’re supposed to love the journey as much as the destination. If you’re awaiting arrival at the next station, just remember your can always distract yourself by working on a side trip.

 

 

The art of pati…

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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