Getting There

IWSG badgeThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Co-hosts for the October 1 special anniversary posting of the IWSG are Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue.

I started writing around twenty-five years ago. I actually just realized this today and boy, do I feel old. Mind you, I started when I was quite young, still in my early teens, but twenty-five years is a long time. I look back and realize I’ve spent over two decades at this–so it must mean something, right? Surely I didn’t waste twenty-five years of my life on nothing, on silly dreams and, as Adele says, chasing pavements. It’s gotta amount to something, right?

The thing is, I didn’t have any real success until this year. I had a bunch of false starts and fizzled efforts as far as publishing goes, but it wasn’t until this year I finally broke out. I broke out in a big way too, with publication after publication, which seems to be the story of my life. Both my son and I are much the same: we take a while to get there, but when we do, we go hard. Growing up, my son hit all his milestones at his own pace, but when he got there, he was there. I realize he gets this trait from me. Everything in my life has come slowly, but when it arrived, the whole world was on fire for me. Yet, I seem to have a hard time remembering this when I’m dragging my feet through the mud trying to get there. I moan and cry and wail and insist it will never happen. But it does, it just happens when the time is right.

I guess it’s part of human nature to want instant gratification, to put an effort in and see an immediate result. I’m definitely guilty of this, which makes it hilarious that I’m a writer–the slowest evolving profession in the world. Everything about writing is a waiting game: waiting to hear back on a submission, waiting for edits, waiting for publication. Waiting to grow into the kind of writer you need to be to achieve success. Waiting is so hard. Patience is a virtue but it’s a hard one to cultivate.

I’ve learned a lot over these twenty-five years though, while I was waiting for this moment. I learned my craft and I learned the business. I learned how quickly things change and how to appeal to different people, and how not to put all your eggs in the same basket. Perhaps I needed to learn these things before I could make it. Perhaps the Universe didn’t want me unprepared and so put me through all these lessons so I’d be ready when the moment finally came.

And now here I am. The waiting is over, the time has come. The lights are on, the cameras rolling. Time to take the stage! Surely everything goes smoothly and quickly from here on out, right?

Nope. I’m still waiting. Still doubting. Still afraid I’m just a flash in the pan, that this year was just a fluke. Waiting for that first book to come out and biting my fingernails, worrying everyone will hate it, my publisher will sue me for wasting their time, and I’ll be kicked off the planet for being so awful. The new lesson I’ve learned is the waiting never stops and the fear never goes away.

But if I can get twenty-five more years out of this, I’ll be happy.

20 comments

  1. I know the feeling! I only intended to write one book, and when prompted to do another, I wondered if I would be a one-hit wonder. There’s only one way to find out, right.
    Congratulations that you are finally reaping the benefits of all your efforts.
    And welcome to the IWSG!

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  2. This is so encouraging. I remember when I first started out hearing a published author saying that it took her ten years to get published. I was shocked by that, but now, as I’ve been writing a dozen years, I see why. There’s so much learn and novels are a complicated craft. Not to mention there’s a bit of luck in the whole publishing game.
    Kudos to you for sticking with it so long and finally reaching your goal! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it’s a long and painful process sometimes. When we hear about young’uns getting their very first novel published and making it big, it’s always discouraging. But for every young, lucky author, there’s a hundred more that have been plugging away for years. Even some of the biggest names in the writing world struggled for a long time.

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  3. If someone had warned me from the start how long it takes to become a writer, I would have gone and been an accountant instead. No… I’d have become a writer anyway. Some things you just have to do, no matter how long they might take.

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    1. Going into accounting has a definite goal to it, too–you know once you finish learning, you start your job as an accountant. With writing, you might write for years and never do anything with it. It’s a scary business, not for the faint of heart!

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  4. Congrats on all that writing time! Yes there is a lot of waiting time, but I think as writers we have to focus less on the feeling of gratification we get from others, and put ours first.

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    1. Absolutely! I just hope I’ve actually learned some things in all that time and I’m not just fooling myself. But hey, it’s what makes me an insecure writer in need of a support group! 🙂

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  5. Hi Megan,

    Welcome to the IWSG! I’m glad things are falling into place for you. It’s difficult to have patience at times but that saying, “good things come to those who wait” must be around for a reason. Congrats and best of luck.

    Elsie
    co-host IWSG
    ♡♥♡♥

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