How awesome to be in Seekerville to celebrate the 7th birthday of this blog, which is so helpful and informative and friendly and just plain THE BEST. But when Tina invited me to write a post, I warned her that I was on a tight deadline, I’d been doing some really tough editing, which always makes me emotional, and not in a good way, and in the mood I was in, my post could be classified as “dark humor.” But she said she was game anyway. So, here it is. Read at your own risk. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
7 Things I’m Glad No One Told Me about the Writing Life (Or I Would Have Quit)
1. Some days the words just will not flow, no matter how much you want them to.
When I first started writing, I thought that after a certain period of time, I would really know what I was doing. I would have perfected my techniques, and I would be able to churn books out like Barbara Cartland or Nora Roberts. But alas, as I write my 10th book, I don’t think I’ll ever be a Nora Roberts. I still have days when the words don’t flow. I still, quite often, feel like I have no clue what I’m doing.
2. I would get 1- and 2-star reviews that would make me feel icky inside for days.
This was in the days after my first two books were out. Since then, I’ve pretty much gotten over that icky feeling. Now I usually either don’t read them, or I shrug and say, “Oh well. Can’t please everyone.” But it took me a couple of years at least to get over it.
3. I would have 3 different agents in 5 years.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that, so don’t ask me.
4. Once you get that first contract, or that second or third or fourth, you aren’t guaranteed you’ll ever get another one.
I’ve had a contract canceled because the publisher decided to stop publishing fiction, and I’ve spent time wondering if my career was over and if anyone would ever buy another book from me again. It’s a tough business. There are no guarantees.
5. How much money I would make.
I recently saw an Amazon review on one of my books with the heading “You make too much money.” So I absolutely couldn’t resist reading the rest of the review to find out if they really know how much money I make. Nope. Turns out, this reviewer is under the mistaken notion that I make a lot of money. Me. Little me, with my four books released in four years. All I can say is, Ms. Reviewer, you are grossly misinformed. Or should I say, uninformed?
6. That I would still have to clean the toilets and cook the meals and clean the house (and heaven knows there’s not much cleaning going on).
I used to think that if I could just make enough money by writing to hire a housekeeper to come in one day a week, I would be happy with that. Well, I still don’t have a housekeeper, but that subject is too depressing, so don’t ask me about that either.
7. Most of my early writer friends would quit writing and I’d have to make new writer friends.
They’re still my friends, but they’re no longer writing. They’re pursuing other important things, and that’s great, but it was very sad when we stopped communicating as much. I guess the bottom line is, Writing is a permanent sickness for some, and others get over it pretty quickly.
And the #8 Bonus is my favorite: It’s not really about me at all.
I used to think I was doing this writing gig for myself, to make money, to do what I loved, to get that housekeeper I desperately needed, for personal fulfillment. After I got published, I realized I was totally wrong. It’s not about me at all.
It’s about the girl who just wrote to me and said, “I am a Christian and struggling with my faith but these books have inspired me to be a better person and to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Thanks to you I have witnessed to 3 people at my school. I really appreciate the difference you have made in my life.”
It’s about the mother who wrote to me and said, “Your books have been such a Godsend for [my daughter], as it is difficult to find books that are morally pure for a 13 year old.”
It’s about Debbie, who said, “Your books have offered me a wonderful escape from a very painful chronic illness.”
It’s about the teen girl who said, “I love how I was able to find a Christian book series I could read and that would give me strength through my first year of high school. I believe that I needed Jesus more than ever this year, and I believe He helped me find these books to keep me going and to pursue my goals.”
It’s about another teen who said, “I love to read your books because they help to push myself to not be ashamed of my faith in Jesus Christ.”
It’s about the girl with the Muslim-sounding name who wrote and said, “I'm a huge fan of your books! Not only are they packed with adventure, but they convey wonderful messages of love, goodness, piety and faith in God Almighty that even non-Christians such as myself can relate to.”
So even though there have been a lot of tough things about being a writer, and even though I might have quit if I’d known just how tough it would be, I’m glad I didn’t know. Because I’m glad I didn’t quit.
And now I’d like to hear your biggest gripe about the writing life. Go ahead, vent. Get it off your chest. And then tell me the reasons why it’s worth it to you. And if you leave a comment, you’ll be in the drawing to win one of 3 copies of my newest book, The Princess Spy.
The Princess Spy
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.
And exciting news today in Seekerville!
Leading up to the release of The Princess Spy, my publisher is putting all my previous books on sale for $1.99. So if you are missing any of the books, now is a great time to get them! Also, you can pre-order The Princess Spy for $5.99. Thanks!
|Melanie with Mary Connealy|
|Photo via Crestock.com|