So, I'm having a baby tomorrow! Very excited, but suffice it to say I probably won't be around much this summer. I hope you will stick around nonetheless, even though my posts will be fairly sporadic.
When you get to the "Going To Be Published" phase of this whole writing journey, people constantly ask for advice (both writers and non-writers). Which is fine. I like giving advice actually, though I usually pad it with a lot of disclaimers about how every path is different and you have to find what works for you. But what's interesting is that my advice is always changing, mostly based on what I'm going through at the time.
Today I wanted to share the advice I've been dealing out lately. I figure that's a good way to leave the blog while I get used to having three kids.
• Publishing won't make you love writing more. I know the goal for many writers is to publish—it was my goal, too—but I try to emphasize to unpublished writers these days that publishing doesn't fix whatever emotional struggles you face on the journey. Yes, it's great to know my book is coming out next year, but it also doesn't make it magically easy to write. It doesn't bring me as much validation as I thought it would; in fact, I still constantly feel like a noob or a fraud or just plain insecure. If you can't find it in yourself to love writing now, nothing will fix that except digging inside yourself and figuring out why.
• It's ALWAYS about the next book. Some things change constantly in publishing, but one thing remains same: There's always another book to write. If you really want to be a writer, you should always be working on another book. When I was querying, I took this advice to heart...maybe too much, since I got an agent with book #8. When I was on submission to editors, I still wrote other books. Which turned out to be a good thing because I didn't sell book #8—TRANSPARENT is book #10. And guess what? Even after I sold, I had an option book to figure out. So it was a good thing I had two other books I'd written post-TRANSPARENT to show my editor.
Even now, after my contract has been settled, I still want to sell more books, which means I have to write them! Usually now when a writer is telling me their troubles, I sympathize, but I always ask if they're writing something new. If they're not, I tell them to start. Putting that hope into the future somehow fixes things. Focus on the writing—everything else falls into place when you do that.
• Write what you love. Maybe it's not marketable. Maybe it's just plain weird. Who cares? Losing your passion for writing and stories is far worse than not being published, trust me. That is what creates the misery. Don't try and fit into a box that can't hold you. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. It's really not worth it. Own your voice. Find the right place for it. And be happy about that place.
And...that's about it! My advice has gotten pretty simple these days. I'm not sure where all the zen is coming from, but I'm not about to question it. I've spent the last six years having a massive angst-fest over all this stuff, so it's nice to finally be in a place where I'm just happy with my situation. Far from ideal as it is, it works for me. Hooray for good places. I hope you can find yours.
This baby thing has kind of taken me by surprise. Shows what a useless follower I am. Hope all goes well, and don't forget to pack bears.ReplyDelete
Congrats on the kidlet, Natalie! Take care of yourself and take as much time as you need. Your readers will still be here. :-)ReplyDelete
Beautiful post, Natalie. Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
Best of luck tomorrow!
I wish you a quick and easy delivery, and good health to you and the newest member of your family (to all of them, actually).ReplyDelete
You're having a baby? Oh that's wonderful news! Wishing you and your family so much joy as you welcome the newest arrival. So much has happened since I last paddled around in the bloggy puddle. How brilliant it is to come back to such happy tidings!!ReplyDelete
May everything go smoothly tomorrow (and for the rest of your kiddos' lives). Congratulations!ReplyDelete
Hope everything goes lovely tomorrow, Natalie. And wishing you restful nights with lots of sleep :).ReplyDelete
We'll be here when you get back:)
Good luck tomorrow, Natalie! Thanks for this great post!ReplyDelete
Best of luck to you tomorrow, Natalie!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing all the great advice Natalie. Congrats on the baby! So excited for you. When things settle down, hope you'll post some pictures.ReplyDelete
Great advice. And happy Baby Day tomorrow!! Love you.ReplyDelete
This is all really good advice. I may have to save this link to reply to some emails :) Best of luck with the new baby!ReplyDelete
Thank you for emphasizing this to me again. I know this, but sometimes I find myself agonizing over when an agent or editor is going to get back to me when what I really should be doing is writing.ReplyDelete
Congrats on the baby! I hope you enjoy your sleep tonight and everything goes smoothly tomorrow.ReplyDelete
We'll be thinking of you and waiting for your return!
Oh, good luck tomorrow and congratulations! I hope you post a picture or two of your new little one.ReplyDelete
Yay for Baby! And great advice. :)ReplyDelete
Hope all goes well today - and thanks for all your words and advice on the blog. I've certainly very much enjoyed and appreciated reading. I look forward to your return when you have time. All the very best of luck for you and your family on this momentous day!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your 3rd! And great advice. Stuff I try and do every day!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the great advice and congrats on the new little one!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the wonderful writing advice and congratulations on the new baby! I wish you the best!ReplyDelete
Dude. This. I so agree with this post. And I love zen-you. :) Can't wait to meet your new little bundle! Good luck today!ReplyDelete
Sending the best birth vibes your way! Wonderful advise!!!ReplyDelete
I hope everything goes well today! Take it easy and enjoy your new little one! :) And great advice as always. :)ReplyDelete
Yay for another baby and awesome post! Excellent advice:)ReplyDelete
Thanks for these words. I need to hear them from time to time when I find myself getting too wrapped up in the process and the dream.ReplyDelete
Yay on the baby!!ReplyDelete
"Write what you love." This whole section made me send you imaginary kisses. Or maybe they were real kisses, I don't know. They were platonic.ReplyDelete
In Which We Start Anew
THANK YOU!! I have been really struggling with all this lately.ReplyDelete
All the best with the new baby! So excited!
Congrats on your baby, Natalie! That's some really great advice too! Thanks!ReplyDelete
Congrats on the babe, Natalie. Well done. Just sent in my 16th MS to the publisher, a Western of course. As you say, it's all about the WIP. Going to NM next month to the WWA convention. Won't have time to swing by Utah, but . . .ReplyDelete
Great advice, Natalie. Congratulations on your baby! I wish you a lazy summer with many babes-in-arms naps. :-)ReplyDelete
Great advice and as always, LOVE your honesty:)ReplyDelete
Such great advice! Especially the writing what you love!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this. I just sent two query letters, both of which got rejected. I found it was a learning experience, which I talked about on my blog. We can always improve as writers, even if that means putting one project aside and starting on others.ReplyDelete