Friday, October 02, 2009

The Weight of Reality

Once upon a time, I was an unpublished writer amongst a rather large peer group of the very same. We would sometimes hear the few published writers in our midst complain about deadlines or edits or juggling publishers and we would look at each other in disbelief, each able to read the others' minds: We wish we had those problems. Authors should stop complaining and be happy they have a contract. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Let me say that the view from the other side is slightly different. And I'm not complaining, I just want to share, so that maybe there can be a greater understanding of things on the "greener" side.

I don't want to shock you, but being published isn't all rainbows and kittens. It comes with a new set of responsibilities and demands. Yes, I know, those of you who are unpublished are already thinking, yeah, demands I'd love to have.

And some day, you very well may have them. But until that day, here's a little insight. When the realization hits you that you are not only contractually obligated to produce, but that what you produce must find favor with your editor, you will feel a great weight upon your shoulders.

That realization is daunting. The greener grass will temporarily brown a little. And you'll think back to when you were unpublished and wished for this, and you'll come to another realization.

You're the same person. With the same ambitions. And you can do this.

And then you'll stop eating chocolate and get back to work, because this is a business and you're a professional and that's what professionals do. Get it? Good. Go write.


  1. Sometimes the thought of actually being under contract scares me, but I'm still working toward that goal. And you're right - whatever happens after I sell a book, I'll still be me.

  2. Yeah, I can definitely see that.
    I should go write now...

  3. I appreciate it when those further down the road lay a taste of realism on the path. Thank you!

  4. And keep at it. :) We know you can do it, so don't let that weight of yours get too heavy.

  5. You're right in the sense that I would love to be published.

    Thanks for a look at the "greener" side. I needed that.

    Blessings to you...

  6. Thanks for the reality check! Have a great weekend. :O)

  7. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Great advise. With any responsibility comes great weight on the shoulders, but yours are wide enough to carry the load.

    BTW- ALL FIRED UP was great!

  8. The grass is always greener...
    Whenever I hear people complain about their jobs, I want to say, "but there are about 4 million people in this country who would trade places with you." Then, I remember that when I was working full-time, I did my share of complaining, too. It's always good to walk a mile in the other person's shoes.

  9. What!!!???? Stop eating chocolate? I could never... LOL

    Thank you so much for this post. It's a great reminder and you're so right. I was just thinking yesterday how nice it is not to have to be under a deadline for my writing. I make my own schedule, but being published will change that.

    Congrats again! Things must be pretty hectic for you.

  10. Well said, except the part about not eating chocolate ;)

  11. When I read posts like these from published writers, I get a little nervous! But not enough to stop me from writing!

    -heads off to eat some chocolate and write-

  12. Hi Kristen,
    Thanks for the great inspiring post!
    All the best,

  13. Mental note: Remember to have kittens and rainbows written in publishing contract.

  14. LOL @ Patrick! I'm going to write in teddy bears farting sparkly bubbles.