I have my dream job!
Not many people can say that. I certainly took an unconventional (and unfortunate) route to get here, but I have achieved my goal: I am a full-time writer. Thanks to a pair of publishers who have taken a chance on me, my professional life’s #1 priority is my writing career. Everything else I do is simply what else I do. Everything else is just the other stuff — stuff that fills the gaps between the time I spend writing my work-in-progress.
When I’m really in the writing zone, nothing can stop me; everything around me is a part of the book I’m writing — events in the plot, characters in the storylines and subplots. It’s an all-encompassing sensation of feeling the art, living the art, and loving the art.
The one thing in my life which depresses me the most is when I allow the other stuff to interfere with my writing — with my real job — and causes my writing to suffer. And when I say it depresses me, that’s not an exaggeration or hyperbole. When something tears me away from my passionate and artful pursuit of creating literature and I am forced to deal with the unpleasantness of other things, it literally sends me into a deep depression.
I’ve suffered from clinical depression for many years. And for me, the best anti-depressant I have ever experienced is that euphoria of escaping into the world I’m creating within the literature I’m writing. And yet, to be torn from that world by people who don’t understand why I write — that is truly torturous.
My wife literally knows what I look like when I’m writing in the zone. She knows how I sit, how I type; she even knows my typical writing facial expression. And she also knows that I don’t want that focus to be broken; she completely respects that. There have been times when she’s walked into my office while I was typing fervently, realized I was typing in the zone, and turned around and left. It’s not because she’s afraid to interrupt me or anything of the sort; she simply respects the art I’m creating. Damn, I love that woman!
Now that I’ve signed two publishing contracts — my third book is in the submission phase, and my fourth book is in-progress — I feel more driven than ever to keep my dream alive. However, here is what most people don’t know: Writing is not just writing.
Writing is editing, revising, rewriting, querying, submitting, and waiting. And rejections, and rejections. But for all the rejection letters, it only takes one acceptance letter to make it all worth it!
There are few sensations in my life which have paralleled that feeling of reading an acceptance letter, knowing a publisher believes my work is print-worthy, and signing that publishing contract — having a “book deal.”
It is truly euphoric!
But here’s the torturous part of it which no one outside of the writing profession really knows:
- It all starts with writing.
- After writing is revising.
- After revising is editing.
- After editing is rewriting.
- After rewriting is finalizing.
- After finalizing is querying.
- After querying is submitting.
- After submitting is waiting — and waiting.
There’s a backlog — a wait — of anywhere between two and eight months before any of the agents or publishers get around to reading a submission. That’s how the industry works. That’s simply the way it is. In fact, I will probably have my current work-in-progress done by the time I hear back from my current submissions.
There is a great feeling in knowing I’ve completed a novel-length work of literature. The challenge is to not be discouraged by the long wait between when a book is submitted for consideration and the responses given by agents and publishers.
So while the greatest writing high is the perfect euphoria, it is often preceded by the torturous wait to find out if the months of writing will lead to another acceptance letter.
So, I guess, until then, I’ll just keep writing.
Because that is what I do.
That is my job.
Everything else is just the other stuff I do for a few extra bucks. But none of those things define my professional existence.
I am a writer
I am an author.
That is who I am.