Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Hurried, but New, Beginning

I find myself in an interesting position. Due to the snows, today was the last day of exams for the first semester. Tomorrow is the first day of the second semester. I'm also in the editing-the-first-and-fleshing-out-the-premise-for-the-second manuscript stage. Big goings-on, I tell ya. So yeah, we teachers are all a little freaked out because we have no break at all between the two, and I'm even more freaked out with my manuscripts, even though I have no real deadline for them. I just never wanted to be the "I spent five years writing this!" guy.

I imagine that freaked-out feeling must be what it's like when you have book deadlines, on top of editing deadlines, along with putting together a premise for the next book (series or no). Sounds pretty harrowing.

I'd still take it in a heartbeat, but that's not what has me concerned.

How will I handle it when I have those deadlines AND school?

See, here's the thing: most writers I know of, who are the primary family breadwinners, still have their day job. It's widely known that only a precious few have the sales to live on their writing alone. That said, you've got to burn a hell of a lot of midnight oil to essentially work two full-time careers like that.

I worry about whether or not I'll be able to cope, because it's not a matter of choosing what to sacrifice at night when you have stuff to grade. My writing can go at my own pace NOW, because I'm writing to land that first agent/editor/book deal. But once those wheels get rolling, I will still have papers to grade. I am completely in awe of authors who make that work, because I have no idea how I'll do it.

Don't get me wrong, I AM going to find out. I'm just wondering/worrying what it'll be like when I do.

So my question is this:
To published authors - Man, how do you guys and gals do it? (honest answers or pithy comments welcome...Shelby, Getze, I'm looking at you two here...)

To pre-published writers - Am I alone in this, or does anyone else worry about the same thing?


Sandra Ruttan said...

When we figure out how to handle it, we'll let you know.

Seriously, you just muddle through. It's all you can do.

Austin Carr said...

Your agent will help with deadlines, but Jake -- honestly -- you got other stuff to worry about. For writers, the obstacles and problems in the publishing industry seem endless. IMHO, it's best to get around them one at a time.

jnantz said...

Ms. Ruttan,
I kinda figured as much. Thanks for the honesty and for stopping by!

Yeah, I know I do, but I've always been a worrier. I really wish I could turn it off, but somebody broke the damn switch and I can't find a repairman. CRAP!!

Thanks for dropping in a shooting it straight with me (and anyone else who's reading)!

Bobby said...

It's good to meet you Jake! I'm in the same boat as you and am working towards getting published. I'm nearly finished with my first novel and already writing two others when I'm stuck on the main one. Building a big audience for your site will definitely help along with anything else in the way of social networking. I believe it's much more difficult in today's world to become a very successful writer of fiction with so many millions of people doing the same thing. Most authors don't know how to use blogging or networking to build a name--which could be the difference between getting that book deal or not. Horror writer Scott Sigler gave 13,000 copies of his 1st novel away for free at the Web 2.0 expo a few years ago. Following that and using web media, pod casting and blogging--he caught the attention of a major publisher. He now has a novel on the New York Times best seller list. He made it happen and has redefined the art of getting signed on a new level.

jnantz said...

Nice to meet you, Bobby, and Welcome.

and yeah, a lot of us are in that boat. But the gals and guys who've already been published will tell you just what TFA said. Best to take it all one step at a time.