was trapped in the car with my family for HOURS enjoyed some quality road-trip bonding time with my loved ones. And as I struggled to recall a time before the trip had started, a time before slow people using the left lane (ARGH!), a time before my thighs had fused with the leather seat, I realized that publishing is a road-trip.
Writers have a clear destination in mind: we want to be published. Beyond that, mileage may vary. Perhaps you have a single, poignant story you’re yearning to tell; perhaps you want to create a long-running series. Maybe your dream is to be a best-seller some day or have your characters eventually show up on a movie screen. But, first, you must publish. There are many routes. You can sell to a big New York publisher or a small indie press. You can self-publish your own work. Whatever route you take, beware the short cut. If the man with the map in the passenger seat tells you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is–NOT THAT I’M BITTER ABOUT THE NEEDLESS EXTRA HOUR MY HUSBAND TACKED ONTO OUR TRIP.
I won’t lie. The journey is rough. You may experience rejection letters more traumatic than the worst gas station bathroom you’ve ever seen. There will be bickering in the backseat (everything from your characters being uncooperative and whiny to arguing with your own self-doubt). There will be detours and delays. Publishing. Moves. Very. Slowly. Except when it doesn’t. Ever been belting out a Bon Jovi song on a straight stretch of road, look down and realize, “Oh, SHIT, I didn’t know I was going 95!”? There will be moments like that in your career. Exhilarating, but potentially panic-inducing.
There will also be marvelous experiences along the way. I have discovered funky restaurants off the beaten path and once saw a spectacular meteor shower while driving through Kentucky at 2 a.m. (I didn’t get a pic because 1) dark, 2) driving, but please enjoy this random sky pic I snapped during our latest trip.)
Ever been traveling in the same set of clothes for so long that once you reached your destination, you kind of wanted to burn them? Excellent practice for being on deadline. And some of the same things that can make a road-trip great (friends and a bad-ass playlist) will also help with your writing journey.
Even if construction slows you down and you have to proceed at a soul-crushing five miles an hour, you can still get where you’re going. Maybe not as fast or as easily as you had hoped, but keep going. It is so worth it when you can finally look at your publishing contract or cover art or book on a store shelf and know I Have Arrived!
(Of course, the journey doesn’t end just because you pull into the parking lot or driveway. What, you thought all those suitcases were going to unload themselves? Even after the book is done, you have work to do. Like, say, promotion. Would this be a good time to mention that FALLING FOR THE RANCHER hit stores this week? I would be extremely grateful if you were to pick up a copy of this small-town romance about an unapologetically stubborn physical therapist and the hot cowboy who temporarily becomes her roommate. You can buy it here. After all, what’s a road-trip without great reading material?)