So This Gets Easier... When???
Back before I published my first novel, I remember thinking that once I got the call, I'd have it all together. Be able to look in the mirror each morning and think, "Here I stand, a published author. I must know what I'm doing."
Instead, I celebrated for about two days and then worried about becoming a one-book wonder. But I was already working on a second book, another historical romance, and my agent prompted me to whip up a synopsis of the half-completed book and submit it with the first three chapters. Sure enough, my then-publisher bought the thing.
So then I started freaking about having to complete (with major alterations) an already-sold manuscript on a deadline. I somehow managed and for a while got caught up in building a website, promoting the first book, and yep, starting another proposal for a historical romance.
That was about the time I lost my first editor, so then I began freaking about pleasing the new one. And then another new one. And yes, friends, one more new one, as book after book became each new editor's red-headed stepchild.
Never a good thing. But seven books later, after a period of great angst, I ended up happily employed by another publisher and writing in a genre I adore. Things have gone pretty well there on the whole. Awards and nice reviews, an editor who's been a constant (thank God) and loves my work.
So this is the part where it gets easier, right? This is the place where I get to relax because after 14 sales, I surely must know what I'm doing.
Uh, no, darn it. Because each book has to be the very best that I can write, has to outshine all the others. Because the writing of most of them is damned hard, and it never gets one whit easier. Because even after all this time, I lose perspective on my own work and can't afford to get too cocky to accept and learn and grow from revisions.
Because no writer I've ever known, from the dewy-eyed first-timers to the New York Times bestseller, has been heard to lean back and sigh deeply and tell the world, "Now, I've really made it."
To do such a thing would surely be to tempt the writing gods to rain down havoc.
So if you're looking for that plush career you've imagined (I blame Barbara Cartland, pictured), the one where you get to work in your peignoir popping bonbons without a worry in your head, dream on. If you're looking to live with self-doubt, hard work, and no guarantees, you've come to exactly the right place.
A place a lot of us still think is worth it, nonetheless.