Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Transition from Writer to Author

A week ago I linked over to Michael Hyatt's cyber home and watched a wonderful video interview he did with Rachelle Gardner. Lots of great information was given during that informative interview, but one message in particular that Rachelle addressed really hit home for me.

Rachelle noted that one of the most common mistakes is "failing to make that mental leap between writer and published author." She went on to explain that the desire and passion that many writers have isn't enough to enter into the business of publishing. I knew that long ago, but as one watches writer friend/acquaintance after writer friend/acquaintance see their dream of getting an agent and then publication arrive, one wonders what is wrong with themselves, personally, for not "feeling" ready to seriously venture into submitting.

For some of us, that mental leap is a longer process than it is for others. Some grasp the skills of writing at lightening speed, while breathing in all they need to know about the publishing industry, too. Others, like me, take the slow but steady approach. Some, like me, take advantage of not being ready, and even take breaks when family matters call. Gasp. I know, we're not supposed to admit to that if we want to be taken seriously as writers. Right?

Personally, I don't agree with that mentality. Now's the time (before you plunge head-first into shopping your stories) to take breaks when needed to keep life sane, because once you are agented and then published, if you take your career seriously, long breaks from writing won't be an option. Now's the time to take those breaks and see if the desire ever becomes strong enough for you to return to the job of writing and getting published. Because then you'll be that much more confident in knowing that this is the job for you!

Stages of life have a way of dictating how fast you'll reach that ready-for-publication crest, and as a wife and mom of teens now, I'm starting to understand why my path has been so drawn out. And I wouldn't wish it any other way. As my oldest daughter heads to university this coming weekend, I'm seeing a shift in my mental processing of this dream I've had for so long.

I'm feeling very close to being ready. Maybe not for publication yet. Only the powers that be can discern that. But I'm ready to take charge. To claim a career out of this writer's journey I've been traversing for eight years. As hubby would say, "It's time to take the bull by the horns, honey, and go for it."

So off I go with Mary E. DeMuth's tutorial of Write a Powerful Fiction Proposal. Wish me luck, please, and if you'd throw in a prayer or two as well, that'd be awesome!

For all those still with me in the before-agented/published stage please know that you're not alone. God has a plan for us, too, let us do the work He asks, and leave the timing to Him. I hope you'll click on the links in this post and that they help guide you where God is leading. And I'd love to hear how long you've been on this writing journey with me.

For those who are living the agented/publication dream now, any words to the wise you want to share with us still venturing along?

Surrendering to Him,



Katie Ganshert said...

Hey Eileen - this reminded me of the question you asked on my blog awhile ago. I'm answering it via vlog in a few weeks! Hope it's helpful! (it's about if slow and steady will ever make the cut)

Jessica R. Patch said...

Prayers heading your way. Thanks for the link, too. I haven't read that one. :)

Sandra Orchard said...

Eileen said,"Now's the time to take those breaks..."

I agree with you Eileen. I felt the timing was perfect that I got the call the day my youngest headed off to college. Deadlines can't be ignored once you're contracted, that's for sure.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yes that you are ready to claim it.

Need to read this when I'm settled at home (in a hotel at present with kids anxious to go swimming in pool). I have a lot of thoughts on this though.

I do believe everyone's journey varies. I know for me, I'm an intense person. I throw my whole self into things and it sure has been a balance throwing my whole self into writing and mothering.

Sarah Forgrave said...

That was a great interview between Michael and Rachelle, wasn't it? I agree that it's okay to take breaks once in a while...Sometimes life just dictates it. Hope your daughter's transition to college is a smooth one!

Jaime Wright said...

You're such an encouragement! I needed this today as I'm on day 8 of no writing and it's killing me with guilt. Sigh. 19 mo old needs mommy - that's not a crime.

Jessica Nelson said...

Pub land is scarier than I thought it would be. Heh.
Enjoy your no contracts/deadlines/expections season. :-)
And I totally agree with your mentality!

Keli Gwyn said...

I wish you well on your proposal writing, Eileen.

Now that I've "crossed over" to the land of the contracted, I'm learning that the waiting never ends. What we're waiting for changes, but the waits are still there--along with doubts and challenges. There are benefits, true, but being published is not all peaches and roses. Life at any stage is about changing and growing.

Loree Huebner said...

I'm in one of those breaks right now.

I spent the summer editing my novel in between the summertime activities and work. I'm exhausted. I am crafting my query on this break...taking my time whenever I feel like it. It's almost complete. With my recent back problems...yeah, getting an MRI in a week, I needed the short break from the writing.

I'm sad that I will not make it to the conference this year, but will make it next year.

I know God has an awesome plan for me. I don't worry about it anymore.

As always, Eileen. Nice post!

Erica Vetsch said...

I'm proud of you for following God's leading in your journey. Comparisons result in envy, jealousy, judgments, and angst. Your road won't look like anyone else's, and you're the one best suited to know when you need a break, when your priorities need to change for awhile.

Life under deadline has some stress to be sure, and the waiting never stops. Expectations and fears just change from one 'will I?' to another. Will I ever be published changes to Will I be a success (and what defines success anyway?)

Susan R. Mills said...

This is a great post! I'm with you on the slow and steady approach.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I don't think I need to give you any post-contracted wisdom, Eileen, because you already have it in this very wise post.

Yes, everyone needs to be able to take time for family at the right moments in life. If I were an agent and I saw how well you were considering your readiness in this post, that would make me *more* likely to take you on.

Carla Olson Gade said...

I echo Keli's comment. There is a season for everything and like you I spent years, writing, learning,raising my kids, weathering life's storms, finding balance. It's all part of it. Your time will come, in His time, as you keep plucking away toward your goal. When I made that mental leap it made all the difference in the world.

Blessings Eileen! Keep your eyes on His perfect path for you - it is unique and not to be compared to others.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good luck. I'll be Mary's wisdom will be very helpful.

Thanks for the nice comments about the 3-legged stool post.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thanks everyone, for your uplifting comments! It's wonderful to have such a mix of friends!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

awesome! i wish you the very best with this stepping out in faith! maybe one of these days i'll follow in your footsteps... :)