As a fledgling writer, getting an agent was always the One Big Goal. If I could just get an agent, then all of the stress, all of the hair-pulling that goes along with writing a book, would be a thing of the past. It’d mean I’d made it as an author, and everything else would be smooth sailing from there on out. (Present me laughs at past me).
Then I got an agent, and I was thrilled! And then? And then we went on submission, and along with all the waiting and the rejection letters and worrying I wouldn’t sell and that it’d be so embarrassing after I’d told everyone I knew that I was on submission, so returned the stress and the hair-pulling. So then the One Big Goal, the goal that’d mean I’d made it, after which everything else would be smooth sailing, became getting a book deal.
So then I got an offer from Random House, and I was thrilled! And then? And then came the waiting for my editorial letter, and the arrival of that editorial letter, and outlining book two, and worrying my editor would find my ideas laughable, and worrying about public speaking, and deadlines, and author photos, and acknowledgements and dedications (and that’s saying nothing of finding time to write book two). And I actually said the words to Ruth Lauren Steven (well okay, I typed the words, but you get the point),that I wouldn’t be stressed out anymore once I’d successfully delivered the second book in the contract. So I’d like to share with you Ruth’s sage advice.
Well it turns out that I deleted that email, but it was something to the effect of this: Stress will always be a part of the job. Whether it’s getting an agent, getting that book deal, revision letters, marketing, worrying that your book will tank…we’re never going to reach the point where this isn’t stressful or hard. Writing books is hard. (Except she said it way better and it wasn’t condescending).
And it’s true. If it were meant to be easy, it wouldn’t be so rewarding. And while it’s definitely okay to be stressed out at any stage of the game, whether you’re a fledgling author or a NYT-bestseller, and while it’ so so important to have goals, there’s also something to be said for being happy with where you are. Not necessarily putting a complete stop on all the ‘Well, that’s great, but what next?’ and ‘If I can just do this one thing, then I’ll finally be satisfied’ mentality, but trying your best to take a moment to stop and smell the roses.