I’m going on 2 years here on EMU’s Debuts. I’m going on 8 years of working towards being a professional author. And I’m going on 32 years of being a writer.
And I have to say: I’ve gotten better at my craft.
It doesn’t always feel like I’ve improved. A lot of the time, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m one giant faker. But stepping back, looking objectively at my writing, the kind of notes I get from critique partners, my agent, and my editor…
I’ve gotten better.
This is a really important thing for me to state publicly. I struggle with Imposter Syndrome at levels higher than I can possibly sum up in a blog post, but as I know so many other authors who struggle with it, too, I want to share this sentiment.
I’ve gotten better. And you’ve gotten better. (And you! And YOU! And YOU!)
You’ve all gotten better, I swear. You’re doing great. And you’ll keep getting better.
I’ve written in the past about the stress of turning around a second book super fast after my first one, and how I felt like I could never live up to the writing in my Book 1 with such little time to work with. But honestly, upon reflection, going through some of the final rounds of edits on Book 2… it’s a pretty darn good story. I don’t know if it lives up to Book 1, but it’s startlingly well put together for how little time I’ve had to devote to it. A few years ago, I never could have written something at this level this fast. (Don’t get me wrong–4 years winning NaNoWriMo straight certainly taught me to write fast, but to write well fast? That’s a different story.)
I’m not writing this post to brag about my Book 2. Honestly, I have no idea how it will be received. I just know how I feel about it. And right now, I feel like it’s still kind of a mess. But a proud mess. With lots of good parts. A mess that can be cleaned up into something I’m reasonably happy having published–and something I never could have written a few years ago.
So take pride in your messes. They’re coming together in ways you never could have dreamed about in your past, no matter how sloppy they feel to you in the moment. There’s so much rejection and criticism in this business, that sometimes, we have to be reminded that we have things to celebrate, too. And one of those things is the simple but crucial fact that we’ve all gotten better.
Way to go, us!
Katie Slivensky’s debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for August 1st, 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.
Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program. She lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin, and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.