Tag: career

Deadlines and Anniversaries: I Finished (Again)!

Last month, the second anniversary of my transition to being a full-time writer passed without my noticing. Maybe the second anniversary is never as exciting as the first, but I also have an excuse: I was finishing my book!

I told myself I would finish in April. Then in May. Then in July or August. But I know the difference between a real deadline and a fake one, so I knew I had to create consequences. I decided that if I got to September and still hadn’t finished, I would cancel all my social engagements until I did! Unfortunately, I didn’t clarify to myself. What about weekends, when I have to come up with ways to entertain the kids? What about parties I’d already agreed to host or attend? It wasn’t a clear enough consequence.

BUT. I finished! This is version 4.5 since September 2016, when I sat down with a new abundance of time and nothing but an outline. Version 1 was in third person POV and reused a character from an older version as the love interest. Then in January of 2017, I fell out of love with him. For version 2, I chucked about 30,000 words and the love interest, scrambling to finish by the end of April (and the real deadline of my editor). In version 3, I switched to first person POV (on said editor’s advice). Version 4 rejiggered all the relationships, took some great feedback from several more amazing editors, ruthlessly chopped 9,000 words (and so many darlings) from the first half, and added 6,000 words to flesh out the end.

Reader, I am so proud of this version. Of course I can always continue to improve it, and I’ll have to, but it’s amazing to finally, finally be garnering interest from agents. (Very, very small nibbles, but even teeny tiny bits of affirmation can sustain an author for a long time!) When I get more feedback, I will continue to incorporate it, but… I’m done! I got to the end! I wrote, edited, polished, edited, and got all the way to “The End.”

Now… on to the query trenches.

rejection resized

Writing Full Time: Day 1

"Today I will write because I want to be Maggie Stiefvater." Why yes, that is a TARDIS USB hub in the background.I can’t believe I’m actually here.

I’ve been dreaming about writing full-time since I was in high school (which might be longer ago than I care to admit!). I did the responsible thing in college and got a “useful” degree—Computer Science, a field I do actually love—which led me to a programming job at a big tech company in Seattle. I met amazing people there and found a passion for Agile software development that made every day meaningful (though sometimes frustrating). I always said that one day I’d retire and write, but it always seemed like “someday” was still far away (especially since the millions of dollars in stock options I aspired to earn in 2000 never materialized 😉 ). Twelve years flew by before I knew it!

But finally, my circumstances, means and motivation aligned. I let go of my lucrative tech job (and, much harder, my beloved colleagues) and leapt into the exhilarating, uncertain world of being an author.

I know there will be hard days, where my motivation flags and the bank account balance makes me wish I’d kept programming. I know that I will sometimes love what I write and other times believe that I’m a total hack who should never show her work to anyone. I know there will be highs of hope and lows of despair as I query and then go on submission and then, I hope, publish. When life feels bleak, I will look at the mug that my dear friend got me, which reminds me of my goal (if you don’t know who Maggie is, you should definitely follow her on Twitter), and then I will drink the strong black tea that will no doubt be in that mug and buckle down again to work.

Even if I change my mind later, I know I’ll never be sorry I gave this ride a try. Right now, here’s no roller coaster I’d rather be on.