Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One-Pubbed Wonder: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

So here's the deal: I have completed a manuscript for a second book. I have no idea if it will ever be published. This is something I've been dealing with for about a year now and I figure the time is ripe to share some feelings. It's gonna be that sort of blog post.

But before you run away, you should know it won't all be touchy-feely. It will, however, be honest.

See, sometime after I got my book deal for Mapmaker, but before my book actually came out (a looooong, extended period of almost two years, if you recall), I had a great fear. My fear was this: that book one would turn out to be a fluke, that I would never get published again and be henceforth known as a one-pubbed wonder.

I wouldn't say it was my absolute greatest fear (tidal waves still win that one)...but it was up there. I wrote afraid, I revised afraid, I submitted afraid.

I was scurred, people.

Then Mapmaker came out. And it was awesome and surreal. On the other hand, it was also very real. It was no longer a dream or fantasy to have a book published, it was my reality. And along with the awesomeness of that came, well, the realities of it. The ups and downs of real life and a real business that I was now a part of. I did say business. Because as wonderful as book publishing is, it is also that. Being an author is my job. And, as a job, as any job, it has its good and bad days.

And now the [good] day has come that I've let go of the fear. I can see it happening, me maybe never getting published again. And you know what? It's not so bad. I'll still always be a published author. I'll still always have that checked off my bucket list. No one can take away the friends I've made through this journey, or the experience I've had. Someone somewhere whom I don't know can still read a story that I wrote...and love it.

And if I never get to experience that again? It's okay. Because I got to experience it once.

One thing I do know: I'll never stop writing, at least not as far as I can see. I'll tell my stories like I've always done. Jot them down and work on them until they're good, and then again, until they're better. If it means it's something I'll only do for myself, possibly for some loyal friends to read, I'm okay with that.

I really am. Because, really, that is exactly where I was before I ever got a book offer. And I was happy there.

The good news is that it's time to write unafraid again, revise unafraid, submit unafraid. Maybe, eventually, another book deal will come through. Maybe it won't. But I feel like letting go, for me, is one of those life lessons I have to keep relearning over and over again. My own existential Groundhog Day, if you will.

It's a good one...one I hope will be a little easier gained next time I catch myself hyperventilating over something or another. Though I'm okay with being irrationally terrified of tidal waves. Because they are SO SCARY.

18 comments:

  1. Sarvenaz, your blog is always so honest and lovely. I love it so much - it's very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, and good luck with the new MSS. Yay for letting go of fears!

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    1. That's REALLY kind of you to say, Mackenzi, and I really appreciate it!

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  2. Lovely post, Sarv. It's very true: publishing is a very different animal from writing, and no matter what goes on in that world, there are always stories to tell in the meantime...

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  3. I'm in an identical place in both my writing life and in my...hm, coming-to-peace-with-things life. I'm working on a new manuscript and trying to do it unafraid, like you said. Thanks for the post! :)

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  4. With lines like "my own existential Groundhog Day," I very much doubt you are anywhere near the end of your publishing journey. Keep writing, Sarv, unafraid!

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  5. I really think I needed this, as I've been fretting lately about a ton of things that are out of my control. Thanks for the reminder that it's all going to be okay. :)

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    1. It's definitely all going to be okay. :-)

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  6. NOT being a writer, I loved this post because it goes for every media. Just try and do something you have in your blood. You'll never find out unless you try.

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    1. :-). A true platitude if there ever was one.

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  7. I think we all have to go "here" in order to write that second book. You are so awesome to share what you're feeling with the rest of us. No matter what you're future holds--I KNOW that it will be amazing!!!

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    1. Awww...thank you, Kim a.k.a. the world's greatest cheerleader! :-)

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  8. Lovely and honest. And you speak for most creative types. But I feel compelled to say--because I've read your book and have seen numerous raves about it--that I don't think you'll stop at one. Was I not supposed to say this after this post? :-)

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    1. Ha! You know I always appreciate the vote of confidence.

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  9. I love this post! It's amazing what happens when you start letting go of some of the fear, isn't it? I used to struggle a lot with this (back in the pre-agent days, especially). That constant striving is good to some degree (in that it gets your butt-in-chair), but the wisdom to truly accept where you are and see it for the learning experiences is something you can't replace with any deal. Brava, Sarv! Thanks for posting! <3

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    1. And that is better and more succinctly put than anything I expressed up there. :-)

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