Friday, January 26, 2007

When I Grow Up

Blogger hates me. I've written this post twice and it has eaten it both times. I cannot guarantee that this post will be as good as the original, but I'll do my best to reconstruct it...

This January, between recurring colds, business travel to icy destinations and rejection letters, I decided to let myself off the hook. I'm not writing or going to the gym all month. I will start back with both in February, although I'll probably wait until the first full week in February. You know, the whole, all diets start on Monday sort of thing.
I've set aside this month to just take care of myself. Nurse my bronchitis. Nurse my bruised ego. As I lie like a slug on the couch, not exercising, I've been thinking about my writing, my future and what my options are. There are a lot of questions for me now about what project I pursue next, what to do with my R'd title, category or single title, agent or not? Another question seems to be lurking over all the others though, muddling my focus.

What if I never sell?

I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer here, just realistic. Many things could happen, including a shift in the market I'm targeting or an overall decline in paperback romance sales. Things that can keep me from succeeding even if my work is good enough. So what is my backup plan? Sure, I could keep pounding my head against a brick wall until I'm 80, but I could also have a Plan B that I can say at some point - this isn't working out. I'm tired. I think I'm going to go do - insert good idea here.

So, amongst other things, I've been trying to figure out what my Plan B is. Something that I can do for a living and make enough money to support myself while also feeding my creative urges. I could do the job I'm doing now until its time to retire and keep pecking away at my MS on nights and weekends, true, but what if I want my job to be my creative outlet - to enjoy what I do for a living as opposed to working 'a' job to fund my lifestyle and my hobbies?

What do I want to be when I grow up if I can’t be what I want to be when I grow up? (Follow that? :) Good. ) I enjoy web design. I was thinking I could take a couple classes to spiff up my web design skills and maybe try doing that for a living. Or start a business designing and maintaining sites for others. I could even specialize in author sites so I can be near that which I cannot be. I also like the catering business my mother and I do from time to time. I’d love to turn that into a full time business and start doing wedding cakes as well. I actually have all the stuff to do them, just not the time or 15o people to feed cake to so I can practice. Maybe start a business as a professional home organizer and straighten out people’s lives for a living. Might as well get paid to do it for someone else if I can’t do it for myself. I could also continue what I’m doing and focus more on fun hobbies like scrapbooking or painting.

I don’t know. It makes me sad to think that I might need to have a plan B, but not as sad as I will be to need a plan B and realize I don’t have one. There’s no way to know. For all the horoscopes I read and psychics who tell me this or that… there’s really no way to know what is going to happen. All I can do it keep trying.

What do you want to be when you grow up? (Age has nothing to do with the distinction of growing up, of course, just ask any middle aged male.) Do you have a plan B? Are you already onto your plan B and looking for a plan C?



Rhonda said...

SP, I realize this is probably against your Type-A tendencies...but forget Plan B. You're not going to need one. Yes, you've had a bad stretch here, but the cosmos will align for you and I firmly believe that you will sell. Frankly, I get the impression that you are too stubborn not to. :-) And I mean that as a compliment.

Nurse your body, nurse your ego, but then settle back in at your computer and make some magic happen. We'll keep the faith while yours is running a little low.

Instigator said...

SP, listen to Rhonda! There is no way on God's green earth you won't sell. Remember I've read your stuff. And it's great!! You are too talented not to sell. It's just a matter of everything falling into place. It's going to happen.

Get well. Take care of yourself. And then get back into the groove of things.


Problem Child said...

SP--let me know when you're ready to go into catering. We can team up--my past as an event coordinator, your catering skills. As the song says, Let's make lots of money.

'Cause I'm thinking Plan B wouldn't hurt me either...

Kathy said...

Rhonda and Instigator have said it well. YOU MUST CONTINUE THE FIGHT! THE FORCE IS WITH YOU, SP-D2.

I'm already on Plan B or is it Plan C? I'm confused. Mommidom had always been my thing. Then a stretch of being the ultimate gardner and working at a nursery until I hurt my hand. But lurking in the dark recesses of my mind, even since I was young, was the idea that I could relate my ideas, my consciousness to others through poetry and writing. I'll never forget the A's I got on essays in HS. I still have those stories and smile every time I hold them in my hand. So am I on Plan C? Or was this Plan A all along and I just didn't know it?

Fate. We are given such a tiny glimpse of it as the years go by. Sometimes it tickles us, teasing us, tricking us to believe that we can or can't achieve our dreams. But the KEY here is to BELIEVE! Never failing to believe in your dreams, no matter how long they take or how far you must go.

The force is with YOU, SP! If you want to create my website, I'm ready whenever you are. If you want to make cakes, I'll be your taster/tester. But until then, send me more pages of you work!!!!!

Trust the Force, SP!


Maven Linda Howard said...

My plan B is to build houses -- but I didn't realize I loved it so much until we built this house ten years ago. Actually, whenever I can spare some time from plan A, I work a little bit of plan B into my life. I'm talking with a contractor about building a line of LH designed houses -- not mass-produced, but each house special in its own right. Talk about fun!

Now, the writing thing. Stop what you're doing. Right now. I don't mean the vegging-out bit -- that part's necessary. I mean the "targeting a market" bit. For one thing, by the time your arrow has left your string and reached the target, the target (market) will have changed. Morphed. Become a slightly different animal.

Write the book you want to write, the way you want to write it. Then look for the publisher that fits best. You will have upped your chances of being accepted by at least 50%. Don't kill your own spirits by chasing the demon shadow, AKA "the market." I'm not saying it can't work, just that it's harder, because you're basically writing to spec and if that was what you wanted to write you wouldn't even need to know what the spec was. Make sense?

Playground Monitor said...

I may be on Plan D or E by now. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and yeah, age hasn't a thing to do with it.

I'm nursing a cold now too and just goofing off. I spent yesterday piled on the couch with a big blanket and a wonderful Regency romance -- my first. So I'm a Regency virgin no more. Today I'll be on the couch with that blanket and a sheikh romance.

cough, cough, sneeze, hack, sniffle


Linda Winstead Jones said...

I have to agree whole heartedly with Maven Linda. Except for the part about Plan B being building houses. :-)

Years ago, when I had only published a few books for Leisure, my adored editor, who *got* me, left. For a few days, I was devastated. I panicked. Oh, no, what if no editor ever gets me again? What if it's over? Then I asked myself my favorite question. What's the worst that could happen?

If I never sell a book again, my life will pretty much continue on very well. I will have my family, my friends, my health, and some new job will come along when and if I need one. And I will still have the writing, because it's the writing itself that I love, even if I have to do it nights and weekend, even if I can only manage one book a year -- that's what I'd do. What Linda says about writing what you love and *then* finding a place to submit makes a lot of sense to me.

Veg out. It's necessary now and then. Remain optimistic. You're smart and talented and I do believe you will find the right publishing home. No, I can't tell you when or where. :-) Sorry.

I've rambled too much. Probably none of this makes sense!


Anonymous said...

Hugs, SP. This post really resonated with me. After moving halfway around the world, shacking up with the parents, and watching my husband navigate the extremely frustrating and molassesly slow high tech job market in Huntsville, I've been thinking about Plan B too.

My Plan B isn't very exciting, but it's something I like. I just finished my MA in English Lit and I think I'd like to teach community college English classes. I waffle on the PhD quite a bit. I'd need that for teaching at the university level. And a PhD in my field is way down in Tuscaloosa. Not to mention the amount of work (and the 2 foreign languages requirement) that goes into a dissertation. :(

I also like web design, and in my more crazy moments I consider getting the computer degree and becoming a techie. But my ideal life? Selling my books and teaching in my spare time.

I think Maven Linda has the best advice though. Write what you want to write and worry about the market later. Do NOT quit. We all get depressed and think about never selling, but don't do it. Perseverance really is the key.

There's a lady in my Hawaii chapter who's been a member since the 1980s. She never, ever stops writing, even though she's been rejected again and again. Recently, she sold a cowboy trilogy to Triskelion. She also has a mss requested by Harlequin. She just doesn't give up and I really admire that about her. When I get depressed about the market or my stories, I think about her.

Allow yourself some down time, some wallow time, but get back on the horse. You've got a group of folks here who believe in you. They can't all be wrong. :)

Angel said...

Hugs, Sweetie! You go right ahead and wallow if you want. Just don't forget to move on. You and I are quite a bit alike in some respects--overthinking things is one of them. We worry and obsess. Plan. But eventually we just have to let go of the control and hope it all works out.

What do I want to be when I grow up? A writer, of course. And I'll keep trying until I get there. In the meantime, I'm also working on Plan B (though I've never thought of it that way). I'm slowly building my resume writing business. I figured it was something to bring in a little money, hopefully eventually to help our family afford a few luxuries like vacations, and I can do it no matter what phase of life I'm in. Right now it isn't profitable enough to call it a "job", but it is supporting plan A. :)

Hang in there, sweetie. Good things are yet to come!