Thankful Post by Author & Pitch Wars Mentor Lori Goldstein
When Brenda asked me if I’d be interested in writing a post about who—not what—I was thankful for, I immediately stuck my hand in the air and bounced up and down (thankfully this was a written request). But as I sat in front of my laptop sipping my lemon tea, I kinda sorta started to look like this.
Because the list of who I’m thankful for is longer than this post will allow. Which got me thinking more about the second part of what Brenda asked: which one person (or more than one person) helped to turn things around for my writing career. More lemon tea. More sipping, and then I started to feel like this.
Who turned things around for my writing career is not an easy question to answer. I gotcha covered if you want to know who inspired my writing career (my encouraging husband). Ditto on who kept me going when revisions for my agent and editor turned my perfectly tight and round ball of yarn manuscript into a pile of fuzz that I had to wind thread by thread back into an even tighter and even more perfect ball (my husband, my incredible readers and friends Chelsea Bobluski, N.K. Traver, Jen Malone, Aubrey Cann).
It’d be easy to say that my insightful and supportive agent, Lucy Carson, turned things around for my writing career, but that’s not quite right because she more helped to launch my writing career. As did my whip-smart editors at Feiwel & Friends, Liz Szabla and Anna Roberto.
Thinking about who turned things around for my writing career means thinking about when my career needed turning around. And the most honest answer I can give sums up the hard truth about the field of publishing and the job of being a writer. Because my career constantly needs turning around. It’s not a case of one day I’m in the dumps and I meet one person and have one long chat or read one inspirational blog post and the next I’m tiptoeing through the tulips.
If only it were. But it’s not. Writing is hard for all of us. Whether we have an agent or not, whether we have a book deal or not, whether we are self publishing or not, whether we have zero books on the shelves or ten books on the shelves, writing is challenging and writing is a career that constantly needs turning around.
We all have days where we hit our word counts or we get a full request on a query or we get THE call from an agent or THE offer from an editor and on those days we’re riding so high it’s like our heart’s pumping helium.
But we all have bad days too. Where the words don’t come but the rejection letters do, where old man jealousy turns our skin so green no amount of soap can rinse it off, where we want, want, want but we don’t get, get, get and we think we’ll never get, get, get. We’re so low we may as well be living in a submarine never to pop to the surface and see the sun again.
On those days, my writing career needs to be turned around. And I go to someone for help and this is what they say.
Told ya this biz is hard.
Kidding. Totally kidding.
(Had you there for a sec, though, right?)
So who does turn my writing career around? It’s not a single person, it’s the entire KidLit writing community. One day it might be a trusted critique partner, while the next it might be a member of my Freshman Fifteens debut group (www.freshmanfifteens.com) or an agency or editorial “sister.” Some days it’s simply a funny or heartfelt tweet by someone I follow. And, yes, sometimes, it is an inspirational blog post by someone I’ve never met but who’s been honest and generous enough to put what I’m feeling out there for all the world to see and to let me know I’m not alone.
As much as I love sweets, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I’ve met enough writers by now that I know there is one simple truth to this career: it is hard for all of us, no matter what your level. And when you reach that rung of the ladder you’ve been struggling for, the reality is there are still many, many more rungs above you. And getting to the next is just as painful as getting to the first.
But for me, it’s worth it, and a huge part of what makes it worth it is the people I get to share it with. Lately, I’ve asked other authors for help and advice, and their generosity astounds me. I won’t put them on the spot, but you know who you are and all I can say is this.
Oh, and before I go, I have some news to share that I’m very, very thankful for (see how I’m making this smooth segue way?)
BECOMING JINN’s release date has been moved up to April 21, 2015! Which means, it’s a mere FIVE panic-inducing months from today!
In honor of the new release date, I’m sharing my brand-spanking-new Web site at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com, my very first newsletter signup form to keep you in the loop on all things JINN at http://www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com/contact/, and the pièce de résistance, I’m giving away a signed ARC on Goodreads! And stay tuned (by signing up for that newsletter . . . heh, see how it works?) because I’ll be giving away at least one signed ARC of BECOMING JINN every month up to release day! Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!
Lori Goldstein is the author of Becoming Jinn (now available for preorder; Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015, sequel, Spring 2016). When not writing or reading (preferably from a sandy locale), Lori can be found chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter. Find her at @loriagoldstein.