Post #3000

writers-coffee.jpgThough my pace has slowed, the fact that I started this blog over thirteen years ago means that this is now my 3,000th post.

It's been as good of a diary as any. It has helped me get used to the idea of writing every day, and it has helped me remember events both big and small for the past few years of my life. Hopefully, sometime soon, it will become a useful vehicle for promoting my published work. We'll see.

How many words is that? There might be a Movable Type plugin to tell me, but I'm kind of too lazy to install it right now (too busy too), so let's just estimate the number as "a lot". And I am grateful for every word, and every opportunity to put a word down.

Writing can be one of the most frustrating professions out there. It's a classic "hurry up and wait" scenario. For weeks and months you are hanging on, waiting to hear from prospects. This is among the loneliest time of your life. You can feel abandoned and ignored.

And then a bunch of commissions come at once. Deadlines loom, and you find yourself pulling some late nights in order to get everything done. It's often a miracle it all pulls together. The hardest time I had to face was when about ten non-fiction books for kids fell on my lap within a period of two months, each having to be written within three weeks. Do the math. Mind you, I preferred this time to the lonely periods. The adrenaline rush helps a lot. But it cannot be healthy.

What writers might not tell you is that both the lonely periods and the adrenaline rush periods can happen at the same time. I enjoy writing my non-fiction books for kids, but it's not my calling. In the meantime, I'm waiting to hear back on a young adult fantasy submission, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Wait long enough, and you can start to doubt your calling.

Successful writers are, I suspect, resilient people. They have to be. It's times like this that this resiliency is most needed.

What is keeping me going is Icarus Down, although that is in another hurry-up-and-wait position. The second round of edits should be starting soon. That's easier to wait for, though, because the deadline is clear, and the prize at the other end of the line gives me much hope.

The truth is, I am extremely lucky and privileged to have found myself in a position that I can write for a living. This isn't a hobby, I am contributing to the household income. And I can write from home. And I can help take care of the kids and watch them grow up. And I can see my name in print. It's not what I expected I was going to be when I grew up, but I think it might be better than if I had become what I'd expected to be when I grew up.

Still, it's not easy. It's a long slog punctuated by occasions of terror, frustration and even heartbreak. In its own way, this profession is not for the faint-of-heart.

(Though, I'm one to talk. The exterminator I hired to take care of a wasps' nest in my backyard seemed to enjoy his job. And that would be a career that would be utter hell for me...)

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