Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Journey

I think it's safe to say most of us have been trudging along in this publication journey for a while now. It's the "a while" part that is open to interpretation, right?

There are all those success stories we hear, the ones where an author's written a book in just a few weeks that led to a multi-gazillion-dollar-deal, complete with glitter and sprinkles and loads of chocolate flavored confetti falling from the sky.

And then you think, dude, I could totally do that.

You scribble your book down. Jump on what you think is the Amtrak train straight for NYC where you just know your book is going to get an agent-editor-multi-bazillion-dollar (bigger than gazillion, you see) - deal and you'll have a parade and instead of throwing out candy to the masses you will throw chocolate covered words to help other writers achieve their dreams.

But. (Did you expect there not to be a "but?")

The train stops. You get out. And this is so not NYC.

You stand on the platform. And Platform 9 3/4, it's not.

You look around. Yep, still an Amtrak. In your hands, yep, still holding your gonna-be-a-NYT-bestseller. So you go over to find the conductor to get some information. And what do you learn? You've landed in Editsville. The conductor hands you a map and you see that this train stops in Editsville, Revision City, Rewriteston, Letitstewabit and then loops back around to Editsville again.

You've just missed the connection from Editsville to NYC.

The conductor asks, "Didn't anyone tell you that?"
You say, "Uh, no."
The conductor just shakes his head in apology and ambles away.
You stand there thinking, Uh, this is so not the trip I was planning. And then you look at your ticket. Everything looks okay and then you see some fine print beneath the destination.

Amtrak: Home to N
with stops

With stops?!?!?!? You have a WTF moment. As in, Ms. NYT Bestseller just wrote her book in three and a half days and wtf, she is on the NYT Bestseller list and I can't even catch a freakin' break! Don't these people know I am the next (insert trend of your choice here). [You can insert lots more expletives, if you'd like. The moment is rather fitting.]

So your choices? Sit around Editsville eating weird Chocofake Rejection bars or you get back on the train. When you arrive in Revision City and are frustrated. Your options here? Sit around and eat the new White Chocofake Hopeless bars, or get back on the train. As tasty as that sounds, I'd vote the train.

Frustration turns to anger. Anger turns to resolve. And somewhere between Revision City and Rewriteston you break out your soon-to-be NYT Bestseller. You read through your ms as you chug along on the train. You find improvements you can make. You run into some peeps and they help you make it even better. So then, when you notice you've arrived in Editsville (umpteenth loops later) you realize something: You're in the right place. It's the right time. And you can get on the right train! And then you remember to check your ticket for the fine print again, just as the train pulls away from the platform.

Amtrak: Editsville to NYC
with stops

Great. What'd you think? That this whole getting published thing was easy???

~ * ~

All right, that was my so totally long-winded way of saying that while we hear lots and lots of success stories about those people who landed huge deals or seem to "have all the luck in the world," guess what?

We have no idea what their Amtrak ride was like, or how long it took, or what kind of an emotional rollercoaster it was. Okay, that's not entirely true. We get a reader's digest version of what they've lived through. Usually it's been edited to a significant degree, because no one wants to hear the crappy parts of the story, but what it comes down to is that everyone's journey is different. And sometimes it's hard to remember that.

Yes, we get frustrated, we get jealous. Yes, I said it. You don't have to deny it. But that's a post for another day. Like maybe tomorrow.

So yeah. Remember, we're all on a train. Sometimes people jump on and off, but each of our individual tickets is completely unique. Sort of like the tickets the kids get on the Polar Express.


Christine Fonseca said...

I love this Windy! And it is so where I am at right now...I should email ya...

Yep, I think I'm gonna!

Pam Harris said...

This was an incredible post! Just the words I needed to read today. :)

Meredith said...

Oh my gosh, I love this. What an awesome post!

Elena Solodow said...

So, so true. Great post!

Sarah Bromley said...

Great post, Windy. Every writer's journey from the starting point to how they sign with their agent to publication is so different. It's our nature to compare our level of success to someone else's, but it's not at all an accurate measurement. For me, it wasn't getting detoured into Revision City and Editsville; I kept finding myself in Just-Didn't-Connect Town. And then, one day, someone did connect. Just like, when you keep it, your train will connect, too.

Sara B. Larson said...

That was such a funny (and true) story of the "writer's journey." I LOVED it. It's nice to to know the majority of us aren't alone in our long journeys getting there.

Amanda said...

One of my all-time favorite posts! Everyone's journey is different, but I know we've all had similar stops along the way. What's important is that you stay on the train. You'll reach your destination as long as you can stick it out for the duration of the ride! :)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Okay, see, this is why I've missed having time to blog hop. Posts like this. This was AWESOME. Thank you so much for sharing. Fabulous, funny, and beautiful way of saying it's our own journey. Just have to ride the highs and lows and keep going.

Have a great day!

T. Anne said...

I so get this. One day someone will say look at Windy, she's an overnight success. She gets all the breaks and what about me???? I so can't wait for that moment.

Angie said...

LOL. That made me smile. I've been on the journey for over sixteen years! You know what? I don't think it ever ends. There's probably a train from NYC to somewhere else we want to be. I guess the trick is to enjoy the ride!

Carolyn V. said...

Great post Windy! I thought this journey would be so much faster. I was so wrong. =)

ali said...

Ha! I love this! So funny and so, so, so true!

Dang this freakin' slow train with soooo many stops!

But I'm not giving up! So far, every time the conductor cries "All aboard!" I hop right on!

L.T. Elliot said...

It's that fine print. I need new glasses, I think. ;)