7 Years Later–And 5 Reasons You Can Be O.K. with That

It’s no secret that getting that first book published usually takes a lot longer than you think it will.

You were thinking this:

clock

What you really needed was this:

calendar2

The five or ten year version.

Here are five reasons to be ok with that.

1. You needed to read a million books and write a zillion words and let all that soak into you first. All that soaking took time. And made you a better writer.

2. Think of all the amazing people you’ve gotten to know during all these years you’ve been down there in the trenches together—other writers and illustrators, your writing partner who sees everything when it’s horrible and still believes you’re a writer, your critique group,  your agent who keeps you honest and doesn’t let you send out things that should not be sent out. You have a team. A team is a good thing to have in this business.

3. Process. You have one. You’re not just throwing things at the wall anymore. (All right, there are some days.) You’ve been sitting in that room for seven years and you know what it takes to get your brain to that creative spot. You know how much revision it will take before a manuscript is ready. (More than you ever dreamed.) You know what to do when you get stuck. How to win a war of attrition when you have to. Who to call for help. And you didn’t know any of that stuff when you started.

4. Because have you looked at those first books that you wrote back when you started? Yikes. If some editor had accepted those, your name would be on them right now. In public.

5. Because when that call finally comes, it will be like fireworks and lighting the Olympic torch and the world’s most beautiful spring day all rolled into one. Your kids, who are unnaturally knowledgeable about the publishing industry, will be screaming in the background. Your husband will be dancing a dance of joy in his office. You will send emails that abuse the no caps rule unmercifully. You know that rule you have about exclamation points? Out the window for the day.

And all those people that have been in the trenches with you all this time? They will be as happy as you are because they are those kinds of people and because they know what an amazing amount of work this represents.

mylisa_email_2-2Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.

She is the author of the picture books, Instructions for Bedtime (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)

You can visit her online at http://mylisalarsen.com

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11 Comments

Filed under Patience, The Call

11 responses to “7 Years Later–And 5 Reasons You Can Be O.K. with That

  1. “Your kids, who are unnaturally knowledgeable about the publishing industry, will be screaming in the background.”

    Haha, Mylisa–so true. Well, for me, it’s the husband, not the kids, but same idea. It’s quite impressive to hear him explain advance-royalty structures to our friends now! 🙂 Great post.

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  2. “4. Because have you looked at those first books that you wrote back when you started? Yikes. If some editor had accepted those, your name would be on them right now. In public.” Yes. This. Great post!

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  3. Great post! It is a very, very long road, and without my ever-growing posse, I couldn’t possibly keep trying. Let’s hear it for the team!!

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  4. Reblogged this on A Writer's Notepad and commented:
    Love this post about the very, very long road you have to keep pounding along to have a chance of being a published writer. Thanks to EMU’s Debuts for keeping me inspired every day!

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  5. I absolutely love these points, Mylisa! I’ve been through every one of them and couldn’t agree more. I actually said, “AMEN!” after I read number four. Thank HEAVEN my novels didn’t accidentally get published in those early years. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

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  6. Joshua McCune

    ‘More than you ever dreamed.’ Yep!!!!

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  7. Good points all! Thanks for this post! 🙂

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  8. All hit home with me, but especially #3! Nice post, Mylisa.

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  9. I love this, Mylisa. So very true.

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  10. Thanks for this realistic look at the time frame of publishing!

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