Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Years Ago (Or Chill Out, Guys)

Three Years Ago...

• I wrote two posts in February 2008. One got a single comment at the time. The other? Nothing. They were lame posts anyway.

• I was writing my second book ever. It was about zombies.

• I'd tried my hand at querying once. Made it five queries before I crumbled into despair and decided I wasn't ready, which was true.

• I had no crit partners, didn't think I would ever get them, had no idea how to meet people, and felt like a complete n00b in the writing world. I was.

• I could count the people who visited this blog on one hand—My mom, Bethany, Alisa, Tammy...that's it. My mom was the only regular visitor.

• I never thought I'd know a bestselling author.

• Writing was a big, fluffy dream full of huge advances and fame and cool people who would never talk to me ever.


Now...

• This week my blog is averaging over 400 hits a day on my sitemeter, with many more visiting via rss feed and readers, I believe.

• I am writing my 12th book, if you're just counting the finished 1st drafts.

• I've queried four projects, finally getting an agent September 2009. The project I got my agent for is no longer on sub and didn't sell. Oh, and I have a new agent, since my previous one left the biz.

• I have a wonderful crit group; some are published and have agents now. I do know people and a little about how to connect with others, but I still feel like a total n00b quite often.

• I can't count the people who visit my blog. I don't even know everyone who visits, which is overwhelming and sobering at times. I wish I could get to know everyone who takes the time to read.

• My best friend is a bestselling author, and I know a few others, too, plus a whole bunch of other amazing, wonderful, smart, real, giving authors.

• Writing is no longer a big, fluffy dream. It's something deeper and more real. While publication is still a goal, I have no delusions of it solving all my problems. More than ever, I write because I enjoy it, and I know that is most important no matter what twists and turns my "career" takes.


I just wanted to put this down because I think people sometimes forget that things don't happen over night. It takes time and work and quite a bit of luck. I've been seriously writing for five years, blogging for a little over three, and I'm still not "there" yet. Not published, at least. Is that hard to think about? Yeah, sometimes. I wonder if I'm wasting my time. I wonder how much longer I have to wait. I know there are still so many hurdles to jump and have zero delusions about it getting any easier after that deal. I'm actually pretty grateful for that. One less thing to be shocked about.

To all those who want so badly for their journey to go faster, I get you. Really. But chill out. It will come. And when I really think about it, this has all come much faster than I realized. I like where I am, but to be honest, where I was was pretty great, too.

45 comments:

  1. Like!

    (Also, yes, it's amazing how fast is feels like it's moving, and how slow at the same time.)

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  2. Thanks for this post, Natalie! Three years ago I wasn't even in this journey on a professional level. Looking back reminds us all the way we've travelled. :)

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  3. This is me, too, more or less. I always wonder at how far I've come in the past few years, and how proud I am of my work.

    It gets easier once you start believing in yourself, doesn't it? ;)

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  4. This is my first time commenting, but I've been reading your blog for a while. I'm Jenny. I'm also an aspiring author (halfway through my first novel) and I'm pretty much exactly where you were three years ago. It's really refreshing to know that what I'm going through is normal and I'm not alone.

    So ... what I mean to say is thank you for that. And I'll try to lurk less and comment more often. :)

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  5. Great post!
    I'm going to try to remember this the next time I feel utterly defeated (which, to be honest, is almost weekly).
    Just reiterates the message that we should write because we like to write.

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  6. Three cheers for looking forward while remembering the past! Great post!

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  7. That's what's so great about your blog, that you just get us newbies. Just knowing you understand is heartening. Thanks!

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  8. I agree with Kristan! It feels like the years move so fast but so slow at the same time. It's nice to see progress though. You've made some HUGE progress!

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  9. Not too difficult to chill out in this weather. My writing journey is a lot like winter. I want it to go way faster, but I realize not everyone is going to hit it out of the park right away like that one mom from Twilight.

    Whatever happened with the zombie book? Sounds cool.

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  10. Great post! And great reminder. Step by step we all change and grow and (hopefully) improve. But it takes time.

    Chilling out is a good idea. :)

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  11. Sean, I assure you the zombie book was a disaster. It makes me laugh just thinking about it. I have considered completely redoing it, but I have so much else to work on already.

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  12. I hope in a couple years I've had as much growth and opportunities as you. Congrats and good luck.

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  13. Ah, thank you for this. I woke up melting down this morning because it's another day of going to a job I don't care for because I haven't been able to make this writing thing work yet!

    This was exactly what I needed to hear : )

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  14. A very good post to remind us that it's all about the journey that we're taking, hopefully supporting each other as we go. All those things that seem so far away will someday be within our grasp, given some time and patience.

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  15. This was a very refreshing post to read. I'm in the middle of my first book and I just starting blogging recently, so I feel like you did 3 years go. It's a process that takes time! Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us on this journey. :)

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  16. Thanks for the mental hug :)

    Chilling out seems appropriate advice in the wake of the SNOWPOCALYPSE!!!!

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  17. I love this post. I just started blogging about two weeks ago and I have dreams of being published one day. It makes me wonder where I'll be in a couple years.

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  18. Holy Crap! I'm you three years ago! I mean, if I'm lucky I'll be where you are one day. That's all I ask for, some progress. I'm not even that impatient (yet). Mostly I feel like one of those big SETI satellite dishes, working away on what I've got to say and sending it out to the universe. Anyone, anyone?

    The thing I love about your blog is how you are positive and genuine - you never sound cliched and not ever bitter. It's seriously an inspiration. So thank you!
    Alex

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  19. Nice post. It's great to see how far you've come. Keep going! It's not a waste of time. I hope not, because I've been doing it for seventeen years.

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  20. Excellent perspective.

    That makes me feel better, btw. I remember when the people who read my blog were:
    1. My husband
    2. His best friend
    3. A friend I met at college.
    4. Me

    Yes, I counted myself. :)

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  21. Wonderful post! Like most things in life, writing requires patience and perseverance. But the hard work does pay off! :)So many want it to come easily but it doesn't.

    Thanks again for posting this--it truly shows that it does take time to build your network and develop your writing.

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  22. Great post. I am in no rush. So this is refreshing to read. Thanks.

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  23. Aw. I don't even "know" you and I'm so proud of how far you've come in 3 years! I can only imagine how proud your mom is now... =)

    Thanks for the reminder to chill!

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  24. Great message and congratulations on how far you've come and the great perspective you offer on the journey.

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  25. Natalie,
    I'm a new reader to your site...just found it a few weeks ago. Thanks for being so genuine about writing. Yesterday I touted your post about being a crit partner matchmaker on our Facebook page & tomorrow I look forward to introducing teachers to your Happy Writers Society. I'm glad I stumble across your blog & look forward to being a regular reader.
    Happy writing,
    Ruth

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  26. I guess we all start somewhere. You've actually made remarkable progress--which holds out hope for me. Thanks for posting this!

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  27. This was inspiring. :) I love hearing about people's progress! You give me hope. :)

    P.S. I'm one of those people who adore your blog via feedreader. Just fyi. :)

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  28. I love, love, love everything about this post. Thank you for the reminder, the words of wisdom, and the inspiration!

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  29. Thanks for the positive vibes and the reminder to chill out and enjoy the journey. Great post!

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  30. Your ability to kick ass without leaving bruises has been worth following since 2008...

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  31. You are wonderful at putting things into perspective, Natalie! Thank you :)

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  32. Thank you so much for this. This is pretty much how I'm feeling right now, though I've written a couple more first drafts, but I just started my blog a couple days ago and I don't have many followers.

    It's great to think about where I could be in 3 years!

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  33. I love this post! We all need to be grounded sometimes, you always find a way to speak to us in a way that inspires us (well, me at least!). Thanks!

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  34. I love this post. It made me think about where I was three years ago. I didn't even know what a blog was. LOL. Anyway, I want you to know that I'm rooting for you to get published. You're an inspiration to us all.

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  35. This is a great post. Very motivating. Sometimes I have to remind myself that things don't happen overnight no matter how much we want them to!

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  36. I just want to echo the rest of the "Great post!" and "Hey, that sounds like me!" comments. Thanks for putting it all in perspective and for being as open and helpful as always.

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  37. Thanks for the reminder, Natalie. I see writers around me with huge blog followings, reviews, or connections, and I sometimes wonder if I should be doing more. The answer is no--it just takes time to get from here to there. I can relax and enjoy the ride instead of getting out to push the train along the tracks.

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  38. That really is a wonderful post. Something we all need to remind ourselves of.

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  39. So true.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm in an insane rush because it feels like time is running away from me.

    Maybe I should stop and savour the fact that I write because I love it. And that I will miss being able to remember wh my regular commenters are.

    ;-)

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  40. Great post. I hope I have so many great things to list when I look back three years from now.

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  41. I always wonder how long most writers write seriously before querying, how long they query before getting an agent, and how long the time lasts between agent and book deal.

    I know that it's not an easy to answer question and things vary so much, but I definitely wonder about it a lot, especially because I do feel like my publication journey (as someone without an agent yet, I don't even feel like I should call it that) is taking FOREVER.

    But I guess I'm impatient.

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  42. This post is absolutely lovely. I wish I could make sure everyone who is starting out writing (or doing anything really) could read it. A wonderful way to put things in perspective.

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  43. Thanks for sharing your updates with us, Natalie. Yup. Chilling out now.

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