Whenever I read a book, I go to Goodreads and add a review. That review requires that I think about what I’ve read, whether I liked it, how I engaged with it. Since this is my final blog post for 2018, I thought I’d do the same for my year. These two things I’ve learnt about being an author in 2018 are both an evaluation and a message of hope to you. And, if I’m being honest, to me, too.
One: Being an author doesn’t get easier.
As of this moment, I’ve been writing full time for two years and two months. I have nine books out (six in 2018); signed a three-book contract with Carina Press; and signed on for another four books with Harlequin Romance (you’re the first to know!). This is significant. (I’ve worked incredibly hard to tell you that, by the way.) Objectively, these facts mean I’m making progress with my career. That’s nice to know. It feels like I’m not wasting my time, or the sacrifices my husband and I (but especially him) have made for my dream job to become my full-time career. Subjectively?
Maybe I should be further along?
This is what I mean when I say it doesn’t get easier. The doubts I had when my first book came out were amplified a hundredfold at least as many times during this past year. I often had moments when it felt like I was running but staying on the same spot. I was working tirelessly but only seeing marginal uptakes in sales. I’d written a book to submit to agents and heard nothing. People who started after me were already way ahead of me. Which brings me to lesson number two:
Two: Your journey will never look like anyone else’s.
I have many author friends who I speak to openly about the job. Some of us write full time; others part time. Often those who write part time are further along in their careers than those who write full time. Many of my writer friends have agents; many don’t. My point? There is no one way to become or to be an author.
If you’ve seriously pursued writing in any way, you know publishing isn’t easy. Apart from the actual work – which is torturous even if you love it – the business is hard. There are things you won’t be prepared for. But you know what?
The most powerful thing about sharing these lessons with you is realising how okay it actually is. Yes, it’s not easy. It probably won’t get easier. But you’ll get stronger. Each experience will offer you a lesson to prepare you for what’s to come. Soon, you’ll be getting up quicker when a rejection knocks you down. You’ll be genuinely happy for friends who succeed because success isn’t a competition. You’ll come to understand that there is no one journey. Once you do, you’ll learn not to compare yours with others.
That’s why year in reviews are nice. They remind you that what you’ve been through means you’ve survived it. Being an author isn’t always rosy. But as long as you’re moving forward – no matter how that looks to you – you’re doing enough. You’re surviving. And 2019 will be another opportunity for you to take another step forward, big or small. You’ve got this.