#navbar-iframe { display: none !important;} The Naked Page: February, the Month with Too Many R's

The Naked Page

Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary

2.01.2007

February, the Month with Too Many R's

This is the profound realization I had this morning: Wow, it's February.

Why does February have that extra R? Don't answer that, because I really don't actually care. I'm just rambling.

I've had my not-quite-four-year-old daughter home from school with me all week, which has me musing about the passage of time and how it can simultaneously feel so fast and so slow. It's like that saying about staying at home with young children goes--the days pass too slowly and the years pass too quickly.

But now I'm thinking of that saying in terms of my development as a writer. I had all these grand plans for myself. Career goals and such. January marked 4 years since my first book hit the shelves, and soon I will be coming up on the five year mark since I sold my first book.

I'm still here, still fumbling along, still the same writer with some of the same problems and a few new ones. I have not seen any wild, overnight successes, but I'm grateful to still be rowing the boat blindly in what sort of feels like the right direction. The years have passed too quickly since that first sale, and yet the days alone at the keyboard can feel long and relentless.

But in the face of all those goals I put on paper way back when and have yet to acheive, I have to laugh. It occurs to me more and more that all we really have as writers are these lonely days with our writing. That's where the reward is. That's where the challenge is. That's where the action is, slow and tedious as it might be.

Outward success is fleeting and hard to hold onto, but if you can find your real satisfaction in the work itself, if you can accept that being a writer really is...simple as it may sound...really all about sitting down and writing, you've got the one thing that will sustain you throughout this arduous writing life.

Five years will pass. Ten, fifteen, twenty, and one day you will look up from your keyboard (or whatever it is we're writing with twenty years from now--thought recognition software?) and realize it's February again, and you're on the other side of winter again, and then, simply, you will get back to work.

11 Comments:

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Gad, I know this better than anyone! Great blog, Jamie.

As to your achievements or what you might perceive as lack thereof, you published fairly "young," so, IMO, you're doing fantastic. Heck, if we can make semi-livings (quatro-livings? twelftho-livings?) at being writers, I think that's amazing. Let's celebrate! Yip-yip!

Cindy
who's clearly had too much caffeine

Oh, and by the way, I doubt any writer *truly* feels that he or she is an unbridled success. I realize your blog wasn't whining (at least I didn't take it that way), but I think it's the nature of writers not to realize that what we do isn't something any ol' person can do and that what we might not see as much of an achievement at all IS a great achievement to others. I think the vast majority of writers, even those I would perceive as great successes in romance, like Jennifer Crusie or Susan Elizabeth Phillips, probably still don't consider themselves unbridled successes. Otherwise, where's the push to keep going, to keep climbing, to keep achieving? I think we all have a little well inside of us that we keep trying to fill through our creativity, some of us realize that well will never truly be filled...and that's okay. Because the fun is in the trying. Or something more profound than I'm capable of theorizing...

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger Avery Beck said...

I have a not-quite-four-year-old, too, as well as a baby, and I sympathize with the s l o w passage of days. LOL

But I think you're crazy for believing you are still "fumbling along"--on what planet? Personally, I would cut off my own fingers (well, then I wouldn't be able to type, so maybe toes or some other useless appendage--who needs to walk? lol) to publish fifteen or so Blazes...

I don't know what your goals were, I suspect maybe a different line or ST or something?, but I think you're doing pretty damn well. :-)

I'm thinking chocolate hearts again. I know Cindy wants some!

 
At 8:29 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Yes Cindy, I really didn't mean to sound like I was whining about any lack of career success. I was just sharing the journey I've gone on from being all about the goals and the outward successes to accepting that thing I used to always hear more experienced writers saying but never could quite internalize early on--embrace the writing itself, because it's really all there is of any lasting satisfaction in this business.

I'm happy with where my career has gone so far. I feel quite lucky to have gotten this far, and I will continue to feel lucky every time I manage to get another contract.

 
At 8:38 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Melissa, by fumbling along, I only meant that from day to day it's hard to feel any sense of forward momentum--that days passing slowly thing, you know? Writing another five pages never feels like a big step forward in my career. :-)

Regarding what my goals were, they weren't anything all that different from what I'm doing. I think I wanted to have sold more books by now, to be putting out more books per year, to be selling to a second Harlequin line or to a second publisher, to have a greater sense of my purpose as a writer...whatever.

Life happens, and I know I've done well. I laugh in the face of those goals now only because I have a much better sense of that fast/slow passage of time phenomenon, and because I see now that no matter how I lay out such plans on paper...life still happens, and it rarely goes along with our list of writing goals for the year. I've yet to convince a second publisher that they need to buy one of my books, and my attempts to sell to a second line have yet pay off.

But I do know I'll get to where I need to be eventually if I just keep rowing the boat.

Another reason I find those goals laughable now is because I have a very different sense of myself as a writer than I did four or five years ago. And whereas before I was heavily focused on outward-success goals, now it is more important to me to really just love what I'm writing.

 
At 7:51 AM, Blogger Avery Beck said...

I've yet to convince a second publisher that they need to buy one of my books, and my attempts to sell to a second line have yet pay off

This is one of those things I'll never understand about the business. Clearly you sell--a lot--so why on earth wouldn't they take you on? I see your point, though. There will always be so many of those questions, you have to be happy with what you do just for the sake of doing it. It's the same thing that keeps us writing before publication, knowing it could never happen but going for it anyway.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

It's not as easy as a publisher thinking that because I've sold some books, then they should buy my work. Selling to a new publisher is essentially like starting all over again from scratch. I have to find an editor who connects with my work enough to believe in it, and that's never easy, no matter the stage of your career.

I know it seems like I've sold a lot of books, but really editors are still looking at me as a new and fairly unproven author. I don't have a huge reader following yet or anything.

And essentially it comes down to writing a proposal that's good enough to sell. I think what I've sent to other publishers was probably just not the right thing at the right time. I got great feedback on it but editors didn't want to take a chance on light humorous romance at the time because it was doing badly.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, and probably the reason I haven't sold to a second line is more because of luck than anything. First Temptation closed, then Flipside did when I had a proposal with them, and now I'm supposed to be working on a few proposals for yet another line.

 
At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

No worries, Jamie, I read the blog how you intended.

Cindy,
who just survived dying her hair for the first time - no more "creative parting"!!!

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Avery Beck said...

So much I still need to learn about the other side of publishing. Now I understand why authors say it's no easier on that end!

LOL Cindy, congrats on no longer being a hair color virgin. I've been dying my hair for ten years just because I don't like my natural color. It's kind of like breathing to me now... :-)

 
At 12:16 AM, Blogger SQT said...

I know so many people who are still looking to publish their first book, so I envy you that. But I have heard from people in the publishing industry that it's pretty cut-throat, even for published authors.

I think you have talent and that will prove out in the end. And thank goodness you're young. You have so much time left to build on the career you already have. I think you'll do very well.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

I don't think we're on the other side of winter here, we're right in the middle of it, brrrr.

Yeah, time overall goes so fast, and yet the little unbearable things go sooo slooooow.

This time last year my book was only half finished. Now I can't help thinking how old I'll be when it comes out in 2008.

 

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