I've wanted to be a published author for a long time.
The notion first struck me in elementary school, not long after I read the first Harry Potter book. I'm pretty sure that book was the first time I really understood that writing stories was Actually A Thing that people Actually Did. This thing that I loved had been created by a real person. More than that, this thing I loved had been created by another woman. (J.K. Rowling and S.E. Hinton both played a pretty major role in my decision to write--one day I'll devote a post to those experiences.)
The point is, I knew I wanted to be a published author almost as soon as I knew what an author was.
I understood parts of the process. I knew I'd have to put in the work to write--come up with ideas, get them on paper, clean them up. I knew I'd have to deal with critique to make my work better. I knew I'd have to find ways to narrow down 80,000 plus words into a three-paragraph pitch (this may be the hardest thing ever, by the way). I knew I'd face rejections (so, so many rejections). When each of these things happened, I was prepared. I took the punches and rolled with them as best I could.
And then it happened.
It's happened twice, actually. I sent queries and pitches, and publishers made an offer.
It's done. Dream achieved.
I did a great deal of research as I started my journey towards publication.
Nowhere in my research mentioned the waiting.
Signing a contract is a rush. A wild excitement pumps through you and--if you're me--you send back your contract as soon as you can. You immediately get wrapped up in thinking about when the piece is published. You imagine the signings or plan out how you'll pose for the first picture of you holding the actual physical copy of your work.
But the signings and the selfies are a long way off. On some level, I knew that. Publication itself is a creative process. Catchy copy has to be written. Covers have to be designed. Marketing strategies have to be laid out. I understand that it takes time.
Knowing that in a logical sense and being ready for it, though, are two different things.
To a certain extent, I anticipated the wait time. It's part of why I waited so long to start this blog and to make the Facebook page. What I didn't expect was how it would make me feel.
As might be expected, I have a rather active imagination. My overly-anxious brain has come up with a million different--and ridiculous-- scenarios about what's going on while I wait. The company's changed their minds. They're trying to find a way to tell me that the back half of the story needs to be totally rewritten--that they like my idea but hate the execution.
The waiting is normal. But it still makes me nervous.
The two pieces of mine that have been picked up are both in the hands of their to-be publishers now. I have a great deal of respect for both companies, and I'm confident that both are the best home for the works they've taken on. Certainly both know the publishing industry better than I and will make better decisions about how to proceed to publication than I would, given my newness to the experience. I've got to sit back and let them do their work, trusting that, if there's something I need to do, they'll let me know and that, if there's a significant problem, I'll be told.
But there's a part of me that still wants to fiddle, that wants instant gratification.
I'm not good at stillness. That's part of why I jumped into project 2016 as soon as my last work was done. But at this point, I've done all that there is for me to do. I just have to wait.
No one told me about the waiting.
But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. I'm going to get to do what I've wanted to do since I was a kid. That's worth waiting for.