It’s September! It’s a special month for my writing, because September marks the anniversary of my “return” to writing. Six years ago this month, I started writing for publication, after a long drought.
Of course, when I came back to writing, the first thing I did was write. This is very important, and probably the best first step for most people 😉 . I didn’t research the industry or the publication process or anything. But I know a little bit about setting goals, and I decided to put a deadline on writing. If I didn’t have a book published in five years, I said, I would stop pursuing publication. I put it on a Post-It note and stuck it on a pen holder on the desk: September 2012. (Recreation at right.)
Yep, five years. It happens for people—lots of people—but I didn’t know to take into account publication calendars of up to two years (sometimes more), plus all the time searching for an agent. Plus, of course, the time it would take getting really, really good at writing.
Or the number of novels it would take. I wrote six novels before #3 was accepted for publication. Incidentally, had all gone according to the original plan, that book would have come out last month—11 months after my original, naive deadline. (But things going according to plan never makes a very good story, right?)
As I’ve finally gotten novel #10 looking something like I wanted it to originally, I want to look back at all those novels: the “drawer” novels, the “totally will come back to” novels, the “waiting in the wings” novels. Because I have to challenge myself with every novel, I’ve learned something new and different with each one. Starting next week, I’m going to look back at these books!
What have you learned from your novels? How many have you written? Do you ever wish you hadn’t written one of them?