Today, March 18, 2021, I received the AUTHOR copies of my soon-to-be released novel, When Stars Rain Down. Today is a day of celebration, most definitely, but today is still a day of work. Just because I received my Author copies of my book didn't make my students go away and it didn't change my very demanding writing schedule.
I high-fived my husband and son, and then, I went back to the work at hand. I had just finished teaching my last Zoom class for the day, and it was time for me to return to my next novel that will be published in 2022. The work doesn't stop just because there is good news. That is the part of the writing life that a lot of people don't know or understand. This path that I am on sounds good in a Facebook Live when I am breaking open boxes with fresh-smelling, new books inside. It all seems magical. Dreamlike. But the part of writing that most people don't understand or "get" is that it is time consuming, at times frustrating and overwhelming. It is a lonely lifestyle and often it is unrewarding. BUT it is still the only life I can imagine living.
I tell my students all of the time, if you want to be a writer because you want to be rich and famous, this isn't the life for you. Oh, I'm not saying it can't happen, but I am saying that the chances are not great that the outcome will have that fairy-tale ending, so there better be a motivation beyond just "I want to see my book in Books-a-Million." Most writers I know are not famous and they wear multiple hats to make end's meet. They work multiple jobs while sometimes taking care of a spouse/significant other, elderly parents, children and pets.
Oh, if we are lucky, and many of us are, we are able to take off a hat or two (for a time) when we get a nice advance and/or publishing deal, but those lucrative deals are far and few between. Most of us write because the idea of not writing is worse than the sleepless nights, the friendless days (we ran them off with all of our excuses), and the perturbed family members. We get up at the crack of dawn or we stay up until the wee hours of the night, and we research and write and write and research. We chug caffeinated sodas and teas and coffees. We binge-eat sugary sweets to keep us awake and alert. We skip the gym because that 's an hour or two we could be writing. We bow out of birthdays, anniversaries and holiday parties because the muse is louder than the guilt we feel for not attending those events. Yes, we love the excitement of seeing our names in print, but most of us make the sacrifice because the storytelling gene is strong. We would be lost without the imaginary friends who show up demanding we tell their stories.
So, yes, I am relishing the excitement of this day...once again receiving a box with books with my names on them... but my writerly mind has already moved on to the next group of demanding characters who want me to get back to work on telling their story. And like an obedient servant, I will heed their call.