Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where Do You See Yourself?

When I started writing as a career and not just as a hobby, I had a definite vision in my head of where I wanted to be. I wrote a book that I thought was wonderful. (It was awful.) I got feedback from a multi-published author and revised before querying agents. I had dreams of finding an agent and landing a big book deal. Instead, I ended up completely rewriting the book. Completely. Blank document. New characters. New genre. I don't even know why I call it the same book because it's not.


My dream didn't happen the way I'd planned. But I adapted and created a new plan. While querying with a much better book. (Seriously, it really was light years better.) I began writing picture books and almost immediately landed a contract. Well, that wasn't exactly my dream, but I went with it. And later I did find my amazing agent. And I did land a book deal. Only it wasn't for that book. It wasn't even for the next book I'd written after it.


What's the point of all this? I keep trying to figure out where I see myself ending up as a writer, but really I don't have a clue. I keep trying to better myself and fulfill my dreams, but really, where I'll end up is a mystery. And I'm okay with that. As long as I'm writing, I'm happy.


Where do you see yourself as a writer? Have you changed your dreams along the way?

76 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Kelly! I'm following the path, even though it's twisty and sometimes seems headed in the wrong direction. I self-published, then I landed a contract for that same book. Then I found an agent, and the book she sold first was actually the fifth one I'd written.

    The best thing you can do as a writer is keep writing and work on more than one project.

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    1. I agree, Diane. You just kind of have to go with it. Paths seldom come out the way you think they will, but that's not necessarily bad.

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  2. Yeah, I don't have a clue either. Lately, I'm wondering if I really am meant to be an author at all. I'll always be a writer because I can't help myself, but...I don't know. *shrug* I just don't.

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    1. Just go with it, April. I bet you will be an author. Maybe not the one you intended to be (like with me) but an author still. :)

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  3. I am still very much new to this whole writing thing and find it really interesting to see the different directions writers have taken in their careers. I think we all have the dream of writing a book, finding an agent, selling millions of copies and living the dream. But, it is very rarely the case like that I think, especially in today's competetive environment. It is interesting to see other writers' journeys. Helpful for a newbie like me!

    http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, we all like to dream big. :) I think it's good to understand that there's a lot we can't control. We have to adapt and fit in wherever we can.

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  4. I've written young middle grade and YA. More and more, I like writing material with great tension, suspense and adventure.

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  5. I'm in exactly the same position at the moment. I began writing a novel and got about a quarter of the way through, when I lost all motivation to continue. After months of not doing anything, I've recently decided to give this a go. So first I decided to re-read everything I had, to figure where to go next.

    What I realised is, that ideas that I had been pouring into this one book, was enough to fill 2. So, I had to scrap that book and reorganise my ideas. Since then I have realised that what I am doing now is working a lot better and now I have 2 exciting projects.

    What I have learnt is that sometimes scrapping and starting again, can sometimes lend to better things.

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    1. Yes! It's tough to make that decision to start over because it's a lot of work. But no writing is ever wasted time. We learn from it and grow. And, the new manuscript is much better for it.

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  6. Kelly, what a great post. I have wanted to have picture books published since I first started writing seriously. That's definitely happening, only through work for hire contracts, not my own submissions. I enjoy it, but I still hope to have my own works published. So I would say that where I see myself keeps changig, too :)

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    1. So your journey is along the same lines but still not quite what you thought. Sounds about right. :) Things seldom happen how we think they will--at least at first. I'm sure you'll get your own submissions published one day too though.

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  7. I'm pretty resolved to the fact that I don't have the drive to get published, but my goal is to write a complete story, one that I really like. I just want to prove that I can do it. Get those characters out of my head and onto the page!

    If I don't publish, that's fine. But I think I'm loving the journey so far and I haven't even gotten past the outline and first chapters. I go to my monthly group meetings, update my blog and dream...oh, and I read and critique. :D

    Anyway, great post and questions that make us think and reflect. Love it.

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    1. Diane, I'm glad you like it. And kudos for you for being in this for the joy of writing. I think we all can learn from you. It's easy to get swept up in the "I have to get published" part of writing. Thanks for the reminder that writing can just be about fun. :)

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    2. For this, I tagged you!

      Tag, you're it!

      If you're super busy and cannot participate, don't worry, you'll just enjoy some traffic. lol

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    3. I just got tagged for this one actually. I posted it recently too. I'll go put the link on your blog now. Thanks for thinking of me though. :)

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  8. Such a great question, Kelly. I began my writing life with a firm idea of where I wanted to go. Yeah, that's all changed at this point. I think its that way with everyone. We have no idea what we are doing in the beginning. With time and experience our expectations and goals reform to fit our needs and desires more fully. For me anyway.

    ctny

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    1. Same here, Courtney. Couldn't have said it better.

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  9. Simple. I see myself in a mirror, Kelly. Duh.

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  10. My dream hasn't changed, but I really haven't accomplished much yet. I'm still struggling to find myself in the writing world. Once I move past his beginning, I'm sure where I wanted to be in the next few years will change--I hope it will be better than I imagine now.

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    1. I'm sure it will be, Mariah. You'll find your place in the writing world.

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  11. I am so glad you wrote that post today, Kelly. I've been wondering where I see myself as a writer ever since I got layed off from my regular job. And I have no clue what that answer is either! But I know I will never give up even though this writing business is so frustrating and bad for the ego. I do know it's worth the struggles once you do get a book contract. It may not be very profitable, but it is so "self-worthy" that nothing else I've done has ever felt as grand as getting my first book published. So that keeps me going.

    My plan moving forward after I got that picture book published was to move on to bigger books, like a chapter book. However, my heart is not in that at all right now. I'm still craving that 2nd picture book and can't seem to get past that! So a chapter book plan is axed for the time being.

    Anyway, I feel better now knowing that I'm not the only one that doesnt really know what "the big plan" for my future in writing is!

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    1. Allyn, I'm not sure we ever really know what the plan is. The best we can hope for is to have an idea.

      You'll get that 2nd book contract, Allyn. I'm sure of it.

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  12. Wait, you mean I won't sell my first book in a bidding war with new author awards all over the back cover. :) Well, maybe I will. But either way, for those of us who are serious about writing as a career, we have to be open to whatever cards are dealt. I've always thought of myself as a YA/MG writer. However, lately an adult romance idea has been wriggling in my head and won't let go. Who knows!

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    1. Yes, who knows? :) I say go with whatever is coming to you. And maybe you will sell your first book at auction for big bucks. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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  13. Great post, Kelly.
    The late great Sid Fleischman said that the first three years of serious writing is 'tuition.' At least his were. I remember thinking, when I started, that three years is too long. A university degree, practically. I thought of every single story I wrote back then as 'it,' and felt it was the most valuable, most important, most worthy thing I will ever write.
    But in my case, I see now that my first three years were a steep learning curve, and I was clueless. I still find most of what I've written since then to be on par with published writing. But those first three years were 'tuition.'
    The Great Sid had something there, and I tip my virtual hat to him every time I think of it. He was a master magician too, in addition to being a master writer.

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    1. I like that. It definitely makes sense. And I definitely know what you mean about feeling like the book you're working on it "the one" until later when you improve and wonder what on earth you were thinking. ;)

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  14. I wanted to be a bestseller. Then I thought if I could just get a book deal I'd be happy, now I think I would be happy if someone just said, "you're a good writer." LOL

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    1. Beth, you're a good writer. :) Dare to dream big.

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  15. It's interesting. When I was younger, I never wanted a career as a writer. I tried hard to stay away from that path but here I am working to get my stories published. I thought myself a horror writer at first but shifted into Dark Fantasy without even knowing it. Now, I'm finding my style is shifting again. At this point, I just go with it. I have no idea where I see myself as a writer.

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    1. I go with it too. Right now I'm working on a book that is not me in two ways--it's in present tense and it's a contemporary YA. Both are foreign to me, yet here I am 40K into it. :)

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  16. Wow, I have worked my entire life to be where I am today and yes I'd love the agent and the large contract and the money and the time to write children's books etc. BUT, those things should exemplify and frost my life not bog it down and make it hard. I'm older and wiser and the tough old days should be behind me. Obviously, I'm willing to compromise on some issues, but last summer for example I wrote so much that I missed everything, especially the butterflies.

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    1. Great point. Writing should be part of your life, not your entire life. Thanks for the reminder.

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  17. I'm just focusing on right now - enjoying the release of my first novel, Concilium, in July and trying to patiently wait for PODs release next year. I'd like to see myself still writing in five years, even if I'm not getting published. Writing is my "me" time - it calms me. I don't just love it, I need to write.

    Right now I'm really trying to build my following to get the word out of Concilium (Shameless plug - sorry!) and, like I said, enjoy the ride.

    Michelle
    Concilium, July 2012
    PODs June 2013

    www.michelle-pickett.com
    www.conciliumbooks.com

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    1. Shameless plug away, you know I don't mind. :)

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  18. I don't think anyone who has lived the life of a writer, for however long, has a "typical" story. I am just grateful to have worked as one since my sophomore year in college, when I began stringing with the local newspaper.

    It is doing what you love that is important, no matter how you get there.

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  19. yes, this is a great post, Kelly. I read somewhere that you don't choose to write, writing chooses you. That's the way it's been for me, at least. I like what April said above, I may not be an author, but I'll always be a writer. At least now I feel as though I have a path. I am considerably older than most of you, so believe me when I say, keep trying and keep dreaming. It'll happen!

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    1. I agree. Writing is part of who I am and so are the stories I create. I can't not write.

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  20. I never planned where I was going as a writer. As silly as this sounds, a couple of years ago I was vacationing in Italy and tossed a coin into the Trevi fountain (I closed my eyes and wished with all my heart to teach myself how to write a novel). I don't think the magic of the fountain helped me write the novel. I suspect that was blind passion on my part. Now that I am on the other side of the novel and in need of fountain magic as I look for an agent I've had to accept that I am not at the wheel of control. (which is hard for me to be honest, I don't like sitting the back seat of my life). I suspect once a person declares themselves a writer and accomplishes what they set out (in my case, a novel) there is no going back to a life without writing. I know I cannot, not ever. Regardless of what happens next I'll keep writing. I didn't answer your question because at this moment in my life I am hanging on a star and not redefining the writer in me or changing. If anything, I feel as if my writing gets stronger the more I write, the more I push myself out of my comfort zone. It's possible I am just a dreamer in love with writing, who the heck knows.

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    1. You are a writer, Brenda. Definitely not just a dreamer. I'm certain of that. You are in the limbo stage right now and I know it's tough. Been there. You'll get through it and we'll be seeing Stella's story on shelves. I'm certain of that too.

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  21. I never had a plan, per se, but I had fantasies... some involved a big library, a roaring fire, and purring cats by said fireplace, leisurely handling my correspondence while a personal assistance took care of the boring stuff.

    Then there was the one in the Carribean, laptop in a cabana with an ocean view, perhaps venturing out for a quick swim before returning to work.

    I did not envision the whole blogging and Tweeting and this-ing and that-ing, while trying to write and read, but you know what? This is a good journey too, and I'm enjoying it.

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    1. You had me at Caribbean! LOL. I didn't realize how much online networking was involved either, but I'm so happy to have met a lot of great people here. :)

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  22. A very good post, Kelly. I think going with the flow to see where it takes you, and enjoying it all, is best.

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  23. What a great post. I see myself as constantly evolving. My first book was a long romance novel I'll never published, but it got me back into writing. INTO THE DARK is a good start for me - it's suspenseful and has some edge, but I'm still learning what it is I'm best at. And that's really the best part of writing, isn't it?

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    1. Yes! That discovery is amazing. When I started writing YA, something just clicked. It was a moment of discovery. I'm a YA writer. Who knew? It's not what I set out to be, but I couldn't be happier about it. :)

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  24. This is a twisty, windy path with lots of blind corners and unexpected things in the road. And I'm totally okay with that! I'm just so glad that I've finally claimed the fact that I'm a writer and I'll continue to do that as long as I'm able, published or not. Although I really, really want to publish. :)

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    1. Adrianne, it took me a long to time to openly call myself a writer. It's a big step. It's great that you've made it there. As far as publishing, perseverance is the key. From what I've learned about you through our blogs, I believe you will be published.

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  25. So many unexpected things have happened to me, but I enjoy this journey. I think as long as someone's writing steadily and pursuing the dream, good things are bound to happen. And those twists and turns are also something to look forward to (even the painful rejections and bad drafts).

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    1. Well said. The rejections never get easier and there are always going to be bad days, but they make success that much more enjoyable in the end.

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  26. Thanks for checking out my blog Kelly and for linking me up to yours! It's inspiring to see somebody who has clearly been at this for awhile and has had success (and rejection, you wouldn't be so likeable if you never had rejection!) Anyways I'm a follower now so I look forward to reading more!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! Yes, I've had my share of rejection and continue to get rejected. It's all part of the industry. It's so nice to meet you. I look forward to getting to know you better through both our blogs.

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  27. Mmmm ... I think I'm happy with writing one book after another. (Picture books, MG novels and adult novels & short stories.) A person who writes and writes rather than a writer. I was telling a friend some time ago, I hope to be writing till I draw the last breath. (Okay, either writing or reading till the finale.)

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    1. I hope to write all my life too. I can't imagine not writing.

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  28. "I keep trying to better myself and fulfill my dreams, but really, where I'll end up is a mystery. And I'm okay with that. As long as I'm writing, I'm happy."

    That was beautiful, Kelly. It really sums up how I feel, too. :)

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    1. Thanks. Just speaking from my heart. :)

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  29. This is so true. Really no prediction in this business, just going with our hearts and doing the best we can. Congrats on doing so well for yourself thus far!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. Yeah, it's all up in the air in this industry. We can only do our best, as you said.

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  30. I see myself writing a successful book ,making tons of money and signing autographs!!!

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  31. Hi Kelly,
    I am working on discovering my niche in writing and it is a twisting path to me.
    I am excited to find a YA author who is writing something new and fresh, or at least to me.
    I look forward to reading your novel as soon as I can find it. :)
    Kerri

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    1. Thanks, Kerri. It's still going to be a while before Touch of Death is released (January 2013) but I really appreciate that. :)

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  32. I once dreamt that I was on Oprah’s show, and she had my manuscript in her hand. Remember her book club? I must have aspired to be one of her selects.
    Dead authors often come visit me in my dreams with messages I haven’t fully decoded. Working on it still.

    All the best!

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    1. Ooh, you have interesting dreams! I wish I had ones like those.

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  33. My ultimate dream is to be a NYTimes Best Selling Author. And you know what? I'm GOING to get there. When I put my mind to something, I MAKE it happen. Anyway, I get what you're saying about having things not go exactly as planned. I'm beginning to realize that my dreams of being an author may take a bit more time than I'd originally anticipated. But, not to fear, I will keep myself running until I get there. Like you said, as long as I'm writing.

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  34. My short term goal is to get through the middle of a novel. Yep, that's right--I keep reworking the beginning. I can't get to the middle! Not sure what this means about my psyche, but it can't be good. Anyway, I expect that once I've gotten through the novel-writing process, the demon will be exorcised and I won't have as much trouble the next time around. I hope.

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    1. Beginnings can be tough some times. Usually once I get into a story (past that opening chapter) things start to flow. I hope the same happens for you.

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  35. I don't really know, to be honest. I really love writing and I think my WiP is really good and, for some inexplicable reason, I think one day I will make it....

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    1. It's completely okay to think that. Determination is a must in this industry.

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  36. I have changed my dreams over the years. Now, my goal is what a friend once told me: Don't worry about how many books you sell. Those that need to read your book - will.

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  37. I would but say to you all "impressive information"
    see for yourself

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