Please welcome back Karen Frisch, author of What’s in a Name.
THE DEFINING MOMENT
What makes a professional? Does a writer become a writer, assuming the title and the sense of accomplishment that goes with it, when a first book is completed and she is able to type The End?
Or does she rise to that level when an editor from whom she’s been waiting to hear back for six months finally emails to say she’d like to see the rest of the book?
Is it the point at which an author realizes the last five paragraphs she’s written do nothing to move the story forward, and, instead of saving them for future use, she acknowledges they’re worthless and throws them out? That takes courage.
Many authors remember the thrill of The Call and feel that defines the moment they became a professional or at least officially made it onto the playing field. It might be the day they were able to announce a sale to their writers’ group. Others define success by their own standards, whether it be an aha moment or the decision to stay home and write rather than stick with the part-time job.
We probably all have images of successful writers. They spend most of their day at home. (I have to admit I do know some who are able to do that, and I’m envious.)
But not many, no matter how successful, are willing to say they’ve made it. From posts on Facebook to emails from friends, I hear the same insecurity and uneasiness. In the midst of hope and joy, no one knows whether the next book will sell, if their editor or publisher will survive, or where their books will be sold or in what format.
The one thing we have in common is worry. Writers are more vulnerable than those of many professions. Unlike a business in which a title and a corner office define success, ours is an industry in which there is no true security. What was true yesterday no longer is.
I remember the day I received a reply from an editor to my first nonfiction book proposal. The letter, by snail mail,recommended some additional chapters to my outline and said the publisher would be ready to go to contract when I delivered the completed manuscript. I read it in disbelief. Was this it? No phone call. No list of changes. Just keep going.
As writers, that’s what we do. We keep going. Keep on truckin.’ We need to share the joy and revel in it, because it doesn’t always last. We survive the struggle because we are all in this together. We buy, we read, and we support the endeavors of other writers. We know what their support would mean to us. We do it because we care, because we can’t imagine how awful it would be if no one wanted to read our stories.
What makes it real for you? Do you have tricks for banishing fear? If you have successful habits that make the writing life easier, please feel free to share.
Karen Frisch’s historical romance What’s in a Name was released last month from Avalon Books. Her other books include Murder Most Civil, a Victorian mystery from Mainly Murder Press, and Lady Delphinia’s Deception, a Regency from ImaJinn Books. ImaJinn also published her novella “A Delicate Footing” in the anthology A Regency Yuletide. She’s also written two genealogy books: Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs and Creating Junior Genealogists, both available from Turner Publishing or on Amazon.
Thanks for being here Karen.