Friday, July 22, 2011

A New Kind of Pressure

So, its been a little less than two months since I got the call. It's amazing how quickly things can change. Sure, there's the parties and the excitement. The rites of passage and open door to new opportunities. But then, things quiet down and you realize your entire career, your writing and how you look at it has instantly changed.

I'm experiencing this more acutely in the last month.

First, there were the revisions on the book they bought. While intimidating, I thought I was doing pretty okay. Word from the editor may prove otherwise, but given my initial panic, things were on track to give them what they asked for. One of the things my editor requested was the addition of a love scene. The original only had one, so I shifted things around and added another earlier in the book.

It was then, as I typed their romantic interlude (down by the fireplace... sorry, Barry White moment there... or it is Chef from South Park?), that I realized things had really changed. Someone was going to read this. I mean really read this. Not just Instigator or whomever else I could rope into it before I sent it out. Not just the editor. The sex I was typing at that exact moment would be in the hands of my friends, family, coworkers and total strangers in less than a year's time. I'd never really had this worry before. I don't know if a part of me figured most of what I did would never see the light of day or what. So I started looking over it. Did it reveal too much about me? Would someone reading it think they'd gotten some insight into my freaky side?

I pushed the panic aside and finished. A little too late to worry. I mean the whole point or writing is for it to be read. I had to remind myself that.

Then I started the next book. I plotted it, put together a synopsis, and jumped right in. Then, once again, I was aware of this new layer of expectations on me. This wasn't just another book. This had to be another publishable book. My sophomore release. The evidence of my growth as an author. A book good enough for my editors to sigh in relief because they hadn't made the mistake of acquiring a one hit wonder.

No pressure. :)

No worries, though. I'm working through my neurosis and have completed two chapters without a meltdown. A third chapter is questionable... It was just a shift I didn't expect with all the excitement and hullabaloo of the 'sale.' When you're unpublished, all you're striving for is crossing that line, getting into the clubhouse. Then when you get there, you're like... hmm... Now I'm settling into the reality of being a professional, published author. I imagine its like getting engaged or finding out you're pregnant and realizing that a million little things will be different from here on out.

So, have you ever done something you've done before, then suddenly realize that everything is different now? How did it change things for you?



scarlet wilson said...

Right there with you Smarty Pants. I sold in January and my book will hit the shelves in September. Last week I finally managed to hold a copy and let my family read it - and it's terrifying. I'm going to have to tell my 78 year old aunt to skip a few pages!
Just finished book 3 and waiting for revisions. I'm like you - terrified they'll decide they've made a mistake signing me and change their mind.
But the good thing is the ideas keep coming thick and fast and now I've got somewhere to put them!
Good luck!

Angel said...

Oh yeah. Having kids. Some days I love 'em. Some days I wonder, "What was I thinking?" :)


Linda Winstead Jones said...

I understand. I wasn't writing when it hit, though. I was grocery shopping, maybe a month after I sold, when the realization hit that everything had changed. Seventeen years after the release of my first book, I'm still sometimes surprised to meet COMPLETE STRANGERS who read my books. :-) -- LJ

Smarty Pants said...

Scarlet, so glad I'm not the only one! Not even getting the signed contract makes me feel safe. There's no guarantee of another. And the scarier part is that there never will be. A career can come to a screeching halt at any point. Scary.

You should come blog with us when your book comes out!

Angel - kids scare me. I mean even if I was in a different place in life, married, settled, ready... I'm not sure I'd be ready.

Stephanie Jones said...

SP, I can only imagine that strange and scary feeling as it relates to publishing but just think how excited you will be to hold your book(s) in your hands and see those very scenes that you worked so hard on.

When I left the field of accounting to go into education it was a weird feeling and the first day I had to face students and parents and know that I was 100% responsible for their time at school was a very intimidating experience.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Welcome to the club, SP. Everything you've said is something I've said or thought along the way. It's just a new mindset and a new reality to get used to.

All you can do is keep working hard on the next book and the next book. Forget about what other people might think. You can't control that anyway. Like the ones who always want to know if my husband and I practice the sex scenes. Um, yeah, because I have NO imagination whatsoever! ;) Duh.

Playground Monitor said...

Having children for sure.

And the big "D" (and I don't mean Dallas) has forever changed my life. I had no idea what to expect. Still don't. It's scary.

amy kennedy said...

First, how exciting! So, even though things are different now, Things Are Different now in a reallyreally good way too.

You worked hard for this. And now it's yours. Sometimes every day I think, What was I thinking?