Holler if you hear me! (I couldn’t resist.) I’ve been offered a contract for Hook Up, Crystal’s story, Book Three of the Come Again series. Whew! *happy dance*
It’s been a crazy busy year, but with this sale, I feel like I can relax a bit. Well, sort of. I may have mentioned once or twice that I am project-obsessed. My idea of relaxing means painting the kitchen and buying new furniture. Sick, I know, but it works for me. (I painted the upstairs hall when I finished SoloPlay.) My stir crazy husband got a bee in his bonnet and ripped all the wallpaper off the kitchen walls a few months ago. Unfortunately, the wallpaper had been in place for so many years it had turned into cement. I scrubbed for hours. With a green Scotch-brite, hot water and vinegar. The Diff didn’t work.
Then I washed the walls. Then I spackled all the holes left by my husband’s ripping exuberance. I fixed the ceiling crack. Then I sanded. Next I’ll paint the ceiling, prime and have a go at the walls. Yellow, I think. What else am I going to do? I have blue counters (not my fault) and yellow accent tiles in the backsplash (also not my fault.) Basically, I spent the entire week getting the walls ready for paint. Each step requires another step before I get to the fun part.
Kind of like releasing a new story. My editor said yes, but now we’ll have to sign a contract, get a release date, edit, get a cover, a tagline, a blurb, edit, proofread, edit…and probably do other things I’ve buried deep in my repressed memory.
Which leads me to another epiphany of sorts. A writer friend of mine volunteered to speak on career day at her high school alma mater. She asked for opinions from writers about our career. So I pondered while I scrubbed the kitchen walls. And you know what I came up with? Writing is not a straightforward, paid-by-the-hour, always-get-out-of-it-what-you-put-into-it gig. Intangibles play into success: luck, talent, good instincts, social skills, resilience, determination… However, being published gives me a greater sense of triumph than most other accomplishments in my life. By writing and seeking a publisher, I learned not to choose a career according to how much money it would make me. Over the years, I had slowly begun to pick jobs on the basis of how much they paid, how much time they required and what benefits they offered. This is important stuff when you have kids, a house, cars, etc. But along the way I’d forgotten that some things are worth doing simply because they are enriching – yes, even if they won’t help buy groceries.
I’ve already put countless hours into the Come Again series. I don’t want to count. Hell, I don’t want to know! I finished four novellas before I sold Bottoms Up (the fourth). For those of you who follow the series, you know that means Bonita’s story is already written. But it will be completely rewritten in the light of what I have learned in the past two years, the changes I’ve made in the stories, and my plans for future characters. More hours – not counting! Because it is worth it. It gives me joy.
And so will my kitchen, when it’s done. (Although I’ll want a new floor, new fridge, stove, dishwasher…) It won’t be DONE DONE for a year – just like Hook Up, most likely. But the paint is a good start. As is the contract offer.
My advice to those high school kids? If writing gives you joy and published authors are your rock stars, don’t lose sight of that while you choose your day job. Success in this field takes time and life in this world requires money. If the intangibles align, you might be able to support yourself writing. But if they don’t, get a job. Support yourself. (Or another Plan B that keeps you fed, clothed and housed.) But don’t lose sight of the things that give you joy.
I’m going to go paint the ceiling now. What gives you joy beyond measure?