Writer's moments

How Do We Define Accomplishment?

The publication of my novel, Rule Number One, is moving ahead. Contracts are signed, cover questionnaire is sent in, blurbs are done, and today I’m working on my bio for BookStrand’s website and the back cover of my book. Soon, they’ll send me the cover art to approve and I can post it here, and in February, I can put up a link for folks to order the book.

Whew! This is really happening. When we went to the lake last weekend for a holiday celebration with our new friends up there, several people congratulated me on the book, which I so appreciated. The hostess introduced me to new guests as, “Nan, our author. She’s having a book published in February,” and I was immediately inundated with questions and oohs and ahhs. That was lovely!

There’s nothing more fun in the world right now than talking about my upcoming novel and absorbing the kudos and wonder of other people. But, it is still such a surreal event. I know it’s happening because well…it’s happening. But I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around it–in a good way. I think what I find most interesting is that when someone says to me, “Wow, you’ve written a novel. What an accomplishment! You must be so proud of yourself,” I’m kind of at a loss for words.

I’ve written three novels and I’ve got another one in progress. I’ve never thought about my writing as an “accomplishment.” It’s simply what I do. Writing is my passion. I can’t imagine not writing, any more than I can imagine not breathing. The characters in my head pound at the door and I have to let them out. The writing of the book isn’t the great accomplishment in my mind, the finding someone to publish it is.

BookStrand accepting my submission is amazing. The fact that a prestigious New York agent enjoys my work enough to sign me as a client is wondrous to me. Those are the accomplishments to my way of thinking.  And it’s not that I don’t believe I’m a good writer or undeserving of attention, I am. Heck, I’m a great writer, but there are lots of great writers out there who are still waiting for that first book to be published and who don’t have a terrific agent working for them.

I am proud of my books–I believe in them and I’ll never stop writing. However, the pursuit of the dream of being published is the real accomplishment. It’s work to find someone in the publishing world who will acknowledge that what you’ve poured your heart into is worthwhile. Rejections are incredibly discouraging, particularly if they come with a missive shredding your writing. But you can’t give up. You can’t let go of the dream. You have to continue.

So many times I’ve heard writers say, “Well, I write for me–even if I never get published, it’s still fun.” Okay…maybe… I write for me, too–to let the characters out of my head. It’s fun. I love it! But I want to be published. I also write so that other people can enjoy what I’ve written. Finally, I’m getting the chance to share my gift–now that’s an accomplishment!