2 years. Can you believe it? I can't believe it. On May 15th 2014 it's been 2 years since I started writing full-time. Seems it was only yesterday, and at the same time compared to 20, 30, 40 years of writing other authors have under their belts, 2 years is nothing. Nothing. However. I shall be pleased. Immensely. To inform you. That I learned a great deal. A great great deal, in fact. In fact, what I learned is so great and vast and incongruous and munificent, that it made me abdicate my chaste crown of claustrophobic cliches that had been squeezing my poor brain in their clutches like a victorious truant squeezes the panoply of his textbooks in the obstinate glee, having escaped the schoolmaster and doing hopscotch to the nearest ice cream parlor to guzzle a sizable portion of sugary froth, while his schoolmates suffer the inundation of educational dogmas. Oy. Sorry. I got carried away a little. 2 weeks without writing, without writing my book, I mean. You understand. It's hard. Anyway. Are you are ready for the big reveal? Did your gallant jowls begin to jumble? Good. Here it goes. The thing I learned after writing for 2 years is... *drumroll*
This is it. Thank you for your time. Goodbye. Oh, and don't forget your slippers.
Fine. FINE. This is not all. But it's the biggest giveaway, okay? OKAY? Besides, it's not free. I expect parcels now to storm my peaceful neighborhood post office, my PO Box crack apart from their girth, because you owe me cookies, and coffee, and vodka, and socks. A writer can never have enough socks. My feet get cold when I write. You know how uncomfortable it is to write, when your feet are cold? Very. Oh, I'm a bad girl, I know. Give me some slack, I HAVEN'T WRITTEN FOR 2 WEEKS, I'M STARVING. All right, back to the topic. Here are a few big big things I wish someone told me when I started this madness marathon, to be specific, on May 15th of 2012, at 11:11am. And 13 seconds. PST. So.
I won't make a living with my writing for a long time.
Sorry to dredge this up, but I know it's a sore topic for every writer, for a beginning writer especially. How will I live? How will I pay my bills? What will I eat? Well, like every beginning writer, I had this super pooper grand amazing dream, that my first trilogy will sell in the millions, and a movie will be made from it, and it will sell in the millions, and I will eat gilded cereal for breakfast doused with lark milk. Yeah, well. Nope. That's not how it works. So far these 2 years I lived on:
1. Savings from my corporate office job that paid good money.
2. Unemployment and, funny enough, savings off of it (yeah, I'm frugal).
3. Consulting money (social media for companies).
Yes, I did sell some books. Most of the time I don't check how many because I hardly make more than $100-200 per month on book sales. It's not worth checking. Not to undermine your efforts or to squander your hopes (or mine). I know it will happen, the question is, when. Until then, I'll probably keep doing consulting gigs or do a Kickstarter for my next book, PAGE JUMPERS. We shall see what happens. Consequently, I'm not in any way discouraged or miffed or upset. I expected this. I sold everything I owned of value, altered my diet, changed my lifestyle, and prepared to write and read for as long as it takes me to get really really good. And that's what I'm doing right now. Is there money in it? Maybe. I don't care. I'm happy. I'm so happy when I write, that I'll try to find a way to keep doing it. Eventually something somewhere will dislodge, and BAM! Good shit will happen. I only need about $20K a year to survive, will need even less once my son is off to college. I hope I didn't fleague your adorable fundament with my admonitory finger here. Keep writing. Keep reading. It will happen. You will make money. I know you will. I know I will, and I'll report it here when I do.
I won't write a bestseller any time soon.
Oy. Don't you want to pinch me now? Not a friendly pinch, but that mean sibling pinch. That pinch that you do with a smile, but really you want to pummel me with a trumpet, pierce me with a garfish bone, spread me over bents of mudflats like a hunk of microwaved butter, and then incise my scalp and peel it off in a long wrinkly rind. Sheesh. I miss writing, can you tell? I'm so so sorry to shatter your dreams! Yes, good writing doesn't just happen overnight. All those stories you hear about authors making it big, there are usually years and years and books and books behind them. At least 7 or 8, both 7-8 years and 7-8 books, around this, from what I've seen. I have hope, then. By my 10th book I should hit something, somewhere. Even if I won't, I at least will be much much better than I am now. And thus, my gobby gluttons, you shall stop lynching yourself for writing shitty drafts and bad books and awful prose and horrible poems. Whatever it is you write and abhor, know this. It's normal. You won't get good for a while. The key here is, don't quit. Keep at it. Every day. Do it. Do it. DO IT. It's like pushing a truck down the road. You gotta shoulder it for a while, before it moves an inch, then another inch, and you're tired and sweaty, and then, OOO-WEE!!! The motherfucker takes off and rolls on its own! And you run after it and can't catch it! You will get there, I will get there. Let's persevere.
I won't shed peer pressure for a while.
This is an interesting beast, this one. When starting, I blissfully plunged into writing. And then I met people, other writers, slowly, in person, online, and I started learning about the world of writing and publishing and all that jazz. I was so ignorant, so green at first, that I took everyone's advice. People told me how to write books, how to draft, how to edit, how to chase agents, how to market, how to everything. Oh, I was so hungry, I gobbled it up. Only I wish I didn't. I wasted a lot of time. (You will too, or already have.) Not that those writers meant bad, no, not at all! They meant good! They wanted to help! (Even I want to help you, writing this blog post, so remember, IT AIN'T DA TRUTH!!!). The problem here is, they already have grown a thick elephantine skin of years and years of experience, and I haven't. So, instead of spending my time alone, searching within myself, contemplating, staring out the window, and WRITING, I spent time listening to others and undulating and being unsure and thinking about genres and how I would fit in and soaking up advice and trying it on and realizing that none of it fit and getting frustrated, and (OH THE HORROR!!!) at one point contemplating quitting. Like, I wanted to quit writing for real, thinking there is no hope for me. I caught up with this trend only a few months ago, found a name for it. Really, all it is, is peer pressure. We all strive for the best, we, I mean, writers. We all have our own way. And we want to share our knowledge, to talk about it, even to boast sometimes. It's like high school all over again. Why are you wearing a pink jacket when everyone is dressed in black? Peer pressure. You want to fit in, you wear black too. You're afraid to be winnowed, you venerate this collective sovereignty, but your fear is hyperbolic. Really, who gives a fuck? But it's hard, so hard, to stand out of the crowd, for whatever reason, feeling different, wanting to belong, and not being able to. It's how I feel, and, FINALLY, I'm okay with it. Well, almost. I don't go anywhere, not to any writing groups or conferences or anything like that. I just sit at home and write, and grow a thick thick skin. It's working. I even wrote a blog post on diversity in books, going against the grain, because I'm not as afraid anymore to be ME. I have a long road ahead of me. You do too.
It won't get easier.
Oh, shit! Here we go! I thought maybe with years of experience writing novels gets easier? Ha! Haha! HAHAHA!!! Let me die here from laughter. I'm writing my 3rd novel, IRKADURA (if you count my 1st trilogy as 1 novel, cause it's what it is, only broken up), and, fuck, it's harder than the first two! Then I went to see, quite recently, the venerated Christopher Moore, and I asked: "When did you stop being scared of your own writing?" And he said: "I'm still scared. I still don't know what the fuck I'm doing and I'm scared every day." And I said: "So, no hope for me?" And he said: "Nope. No hope." And he gave me a pair of free fuckstockings, well, his assistant did, and I thought, SHIT. I hoped it gets better. No. It's hard work. I suppose if writing books was easy, everyone would be writing books, right?
I love writing more than anything else.
This. I got so spoiled. I love writing. Love love LOVE writing. Yes, it's hard. Yes, some days I feel like a funambulist traipsing on a rope strung over an abyss, other days I catch myself partaking in evasive sophistry, yet other days I suffer from excessive bravado, or gigantomania, or language ambiguity (this is the worst), or spontaneous flatulence rages, or minstrelsy, or... I better stop. I suffer. The end. I love it. The end. I suffer and I love suffering it. I want to write for years and years and years more, until I die. The end.