I’ve often been asked what it’s like being a published author. My answer has always been the same: it’s like hitching a ride on a roller coaster. You win a writing contest, which lands you a book contract. Your spirits soar. Another manuscript is rejected for the umpteenth time. You feel like tossing your laptop in the nearby stock tank. A reader tells you that your book was so entertaining and funny he bought several copies to give friends. You do a happy dance. Then some person, identified only by their initials, reviews your book on Amazon, gives it an average rating of three stars, and calls your writing “insipid.” You look up insipid to make sure it means what you think it means. It does.
You wonder if it’s all worth it. Then you awaken in the middle of the night with an ingenious idea for a story, and you’re glad you didn’t drown your laptop. Or you’re in your favorite coffee shop and can’t help eavesdropping on a shocking conversation. By the end of the day you’re using it in a murder plot for a new story.
Forget the downside of being a published author; it’s the writing that really matters. And in time you’ll realize that riding the roller coaster is part of the process.
By the way, the physics involved in moving a roller coaster cart up and down the track is quite simple: it’s the momentum gained by the force of gravity on the downhill slopes that gives the cart the energy to shoot up the next hill. That’s why the steepest hills are always at the beginning of the ride. Without the downhill slopes, going uphill would be impossible.
If you view writer’s block, rejections, less-than-favorable reviews, and all the other unpleasant surprises that come your way as opportunities that propel you forward, those plummeting descents won’t feel so frightening.
Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? Five-Minute Writing Tips, a collection of my blog posts written for and published by Cave Art Press.
I’m giving away three copies of Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? To be eligible, leave a comment. It’s always a delight to hear from readers.