Extended unemployment is up in the air, a global pandemic is challenging and disrupting everything we thought we knew about our lives, and it seems as though everyone is reassessing their priorities when faced with the grim reality that we are all mere mortals. It's time to get serious folks. What do you live for? What gets you out of bed in the morning? For me, it's the dream of seeing my name on a New York Times Bestseller List. Traveling the world on book tours. Being able to afford to live comfortably on a salary made up of advances and book sales. So, I set a goal for myself:
By December 2021, I will have signed a book deal with a large publishing house.
No more excuses. No more delays. It's time to either get serious about making writing a sustainable career, or shut up about not making enough money doing what I love.
I will be tracking my progress here; trails and tribulations, acceptance letters, rejections, setbacks, and organization strategies. My goal is not spectacularly unique. There are quite a few informative articles breaking down the how-to's of getting your book on shelves, but I feel compelled to document my journey; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not only for my own accountability, but to encourage other writers to hold themselves accountable too.
As Shia LaBeouf once famously exclaimed, "Just do it."
Step 1: Write the Damn Book
I know this may be a tough pill to swallow, but here's the cold, hard truth: you cannot pitch an unfinished product. Yes, there are Hollywood exceptions to every rule, but seriously folks, write the damn book FIRST. If writing is your passion, if you want it to be your full-time job, you have to actually do it. You don't have to have the rigid "same time every day" routine that many authors swear by, you just have to find something consistent that works for you.
The book I am currently finishing is a collection of essays about the last two years of my life. I have been working and re-working the pitch in my head to iron out all of the off-putting buzzwords like "memoir" and "essays" but at the end of the day, it's what my book is. I just need to find a way to stand behind it 100% so that agents can be persuaded to read the first 10-pages. At that point, the work can speak for itself. I know we've all had this derailing mental conversation and I would love to address all of the issues with this kind of thinking, but I feel the need to step in with a reality check. I don't need to find the perfect words to sell it yet because it ISN'T FINISHED.
As of today, August 4th, 2020, I have written 73,859 words, but I still have 5 unfinished essays to write. I have spent time making spreadsheets of agents, outlining my query letter, and applying to graduate programs (all of which I will discuss in further detail in future posts) but I cannot avoid finishing the book any longer.
Nothing else can progress until I have a completed, polished, quality product.
I am currently in a hotel room in Grand Junction, CO on a road-trip back across the county so I have some time tonight to finish another in-progress essay. I'm a little fatigued after three 12-hour driving days, but this is a priority and I am treating it if it is my full-time career. You can come up with a million reasons why you cannot work on your book, but honestly no one cares why you aren't writing. All you're doing is ingraining in your own subconscious that you don't have what it takes and DELAYING YOUR SUCCESS!
That's the end of my check-in for today. I will not be posting again until my first-draft is complete. But stay tuned! Next post I will discuss my plans for how to tackle editing!
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