The start of a new year is a time when I always stop and think about where I am and how I got here. I often reflect on my path to my first career as a psychologist and all the things I accomplished. My favorite way to do this is to reflect on all the things that I’ve done/achieved or are happening now that weren’t part of my life 1 year ago.
When I first started writing, which was late 2010, I started as a hobby. I literally had a conversation with myself about how I needed a new hobby, and I thought it would be fun to see if I could write a novel. I finished my first one about a year later, and I already knew I wanted to pursue a career in writing. (You can read my post about how I queried pretty much as soon as I finished that book, even though it was not even close to ready, right here. LOL!) I didn’t start
to really connect with other writers with professional goals until 2012, and I met my writing group in 2013. At that time, because of them (I <3 you, Novelists!!!!), I began to learn a ton about the industry, and it’s around then that I read my first How I Got My Agent/Book Deal posts. I remember reading posts from authors where it took them five years, or a decade, or 5, 7, 10 books to get from start to agent offer, and I was like, “Wow! That’s a long time. I don’t think I can do that. I’d probably give up.”
Shame on me! Now, I know better.
I love writing so much, I’m ready to stick it out as
And here I am, ready to do the math. So, how long did it take me?
- Summer 2011: Told a dear friend I was writing, and she wrote me a note with my favorite inspirational phrase
which will sound familiar if you follow my posts): You can do it! You can write!
- December, 2011: 1) First book done (but not fully revised; I finished revisions in summer 2015. Starting with book three, my revisions started taking way less time, but my first two books were a hot mess and I still had SO
much to learn.) 2) First (highly misguided) queries sent.
- January, 2012: Asked a writer, who was a friend of a friend, for some info/resources, and found my first critique
group through SCBWI.
- July, 2013: Connected with my writing group! (YAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!)
- November, 2013: Second book done (but not fully revised; I finished revisions in Feb. 2016).
mid-2016, I wrote nine.
- November, 2014: First attempt at NaNo. Third book done.
- December, 2014: 1) First short story accepted AND 2) this is when I began my website and social media presence.
- January, 2015: Actually started getting requests on my queries.
- March, 2015: My first short story was published. (Hooray!)
- April, 2015: BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT is out!
- May, 2015: BREATHLESS IS OUT!
- June, 2015: Fourth book
- July, 2015: Offer from a small press on book number four.
- August, 2015: 1) Fifth book (TEN AFTER CLOSING). 2) Heard an audio book recording of my story for BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (Happy tears. A lot.)
- September, 2015: Revise and Resubmit! (AHH!) But no offer.
- November, 2015: Sixth book done (BROKEN CHORDS) AND FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is out!
- January, 2016: Seventh book
- February, 2016: 1) Found out Three World Press was closing so bye-bye BREATHLESS and book number 4. (Sad tears. A lot.) 2) Offer on BROKEN CHORDS (Holy moly!!!). 3) Accepted into Pitch2Publication (So much excitement, I thought I might die.).
- May, 2016: I GOT AN OFFER FROM A DREAM AGENT!!!! And we went on submission (GAH!).
- August, 2016: Eighth book
- November, 2016: Ninth book
- January, 2017: We got an offer on TEN AFTER CLOSING (Hooray!!!!!!!)
- February, 2017: Tenth book
- May, 2017: Self-published BREATHLESS.
- July, 2017: Eleventh book
- October, 2017: BROKEN CHORDS is out. (AHH!!!!!!)
- November, 2017: Twelfth book
- June, 2018: TEN AFTER CLOSING will be out.
I’ve never written this out before, and I’m sort of sitting here, letting it sink in. Mind=blown.
- First ‘yes’ on anything: just over 4 years
- First book contract: 5.5 years,
- Agent offer: 5.5 years, 7 books, and 9 short stories
- Contract on TEN AFTER CLOSING: 6.5 years, 9 books, and 9 short stories
- The release of my book BROKEN CHORDS: 7 years, 11 books, & 9 short stories
- The release of my book TEN AFTER CLOSING: almost 8 years, 12+ books (I’m not sure what my drafting schedule will be this
If someone had told me, the day I started my first book, that it would take more than 5 years to get an agent and almost 8 for my first official novel to come out, I doubt I would have been like, “Yeah. Sign me up for THAT, please.” I would maybe have curled up into a ball and cried. I might never have started.
BUT, when I think about the ride getting here, it DOESN’T FEEL THAT LONG!
I love writing, and I can’t even picture what my life would be like today if I hadn’t had that conversation with myself about needing a new hobby (or if I picked something other than fiction like, say, knitting. Hmm… Yeah. That would have been different, but I’d probably have a lot of cool sweaters and blankets by now.)
So, no matter where you are on your writing journey, I wish you success, but more than anything, I hope you are having FUN! And remember, the only way to fail, is to stop before you reach your goals.
You can do it! You can write!