The Best and Worst Days of a Pre-Published Author

First off, thank you SO MUCH to Sophia Henry for swapping blog dates with me at the last minute.  I was in the throws of jury duty (which was AWESOME), but I will need to save that post for another day as this cycle’s theme is my BEST and WORST day as a writer.  I guess let’s start with the best.

I know I’m supposed to say something uplifting here, but I can’t.  I guess I could lie, or turn something mediocre into something grand, but you all know that’s not my style.  Harsh truth, no matter how bad it hurts to hear, right?  And I respect you all too much to turn away from that motto now.  So, cue the violins.  Bust out the Boone’s Farm, Saltines, and Cheeze Whiz.  Shit’s about to get real in here, folks.

TRUTH #1:  I DON’T HAVE A BEST DAY AS A WRITER.

I haven’t gotten THE CALL (yet).  I haven’t made a best sellers list (yet).  I haven’t seen my book sitting on the stand at the Barnes and Noble (yet).  THOSE will be my best days as a writer, and I would be lying if I said otherwise.  Because isn’t that goal?  I mean, yes, we all write because we can’t not write, and yes, it’s makes us all warm and fuzzy inside (blah, blah, blah), but isn’t the goal to get our books out into the world and into the hands of readers?  Isn’t that the G in our GMC?  It certainly is for me.

That’s not to be said I haven’t had good days.  But usually, good days are negated by bad days.  I’ve gotten tons of requests for partials and fulls (YAY!), to the point where I don’t even get all that excited anymore when I get one (HOW SAD IS THAT?).  I’ve received many good rejections (there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one) stating, “You’re a strong writer and I loved your characters!” (YAY!), only to be followed by the, “but it’s a hard sell for a debut, so send me what you write next.” (OUCH).  I’ve received an email from an agent telling me a sub-agent LOVED my manuscript and would be calling me (YAY!), only to receive a rejection letter a week later from sub-agent saying she already had something too similar (KILL ME NOW).

So, to say I’ve been close to my BEST day is an understatement.  I’ve been so close I can smell the Vodka in my celebratory Cosmo.  And let me tell you…knowing I was that close hurt much worse than the standard “it’s not for me,” rejections I received on my first two pieces of crap manuscripts.  It sucked!  It just plain sucked, I tell you!

And you know what else sucks?  Watching all your friends having their BEST days, conflicted because you are so stinking happy for them and know how much they deserve every minute of it, but at the same time so stinking envious because you want it to finally be YOUR BEST day and you know you are just as deserving as they are.

Oh, just admit it, people!  You’ve been there!  And it doesn’t ever stop, either.  There will always be someone who gets a better book deal, or sells more copies, or wins more awards.

So you may ask…why do you do it, Jenna P?  You’ve been at this now for seven years (YES, I said seven!) and if it’s SO bad, why do you torture yourself?

I asked myself that same question a little over a year ago, right after I received the rejection letter from that sub-agent I mentioned above.  I thought long and hard about it.  Cried about it.  Drank lots of wine because of it.  I came within an inch of giving up on G because the C was becoming insurmountable.  I truly considered allowing myself to have my WORST day as a writer, because wouldn’t that be it?  Wouldn’t everyone’s WORST day as a writer be the day that they put down their pens or keyboards or their freaking sticky notes and say, I quit?  It certainly would be for me.

TRUTH #2:  I DON’T HAVE A WORST DAY AS A WRITER.

I wish I could say it was something uplifting and earthshattering that gave me the strength to keep going, but it wasn’t.  In the end, it was good old fashioned stubbornness. Utter pain or Total Failure – take your pick, Jenna P.  And I simply refused to fail.  It’s just not in me.  I know it’s not pretty, but when things get that dark sometimes the lesser of two evils is the only M you’ve got to keep going.

See what I did there?

So if you’re like me, and I think many of you are, I hope you will take this one prize token from the pity party I just threw….

TRUTH #3:  YOU CAN’T CONTROL IF OR WHEN YOUR BEST DAY AS A WRITER COMES, BUT IT IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU IF OR WHEN YOUR WORST DAY COMES. 

Don’t let it.  Ever.

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