Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I'm Walking

Happy New Year! Happy February! I unofficially took January off from blogging, so that I could get my bearings. This is my last semester of high school ever. I have four classes, plus a job and a half, and the stressful yet exciting prospect of college. New York. It’s all that I can think of right now, worrying about the money, or getting there- it’s pretty stressful. But I’m not writing this post about my life, or my vegetarianism, (three months, still going strong!) This post is about the race that is publishing.

Before I go any further, let me say that I’m not saying no to being published, getting an agent, or writing a bestseller in two months with no sleep and too much caffeine. I don’t think it will, but my life could change at any time. I could sign with an agent (though I’m not querying) I could land a book contract, though I’ve not sent any work out- that’s the nature of life, anything is possible.

Once a writer becomes (even moderately) serious about his or her craft, the question of publication will come up. Some teenage authors will write a draft in their junior year of high school, find an agent or two (or three,) be published before college, and have four (possibly more) books published before the age of twenty. There are people like that who exist. I give them all the credit and admiration in the world, but I’m not one of those people. I’d like to be, oh boy would I. But either those teen prodigies before me were amazing at time management, or I’m REALLY not good at it. I tend to think that deep down more than anything, they were ready sooner than I, and want it more.

Publishing is a marathon. I’m starting slow, or even starting normally. I’m writing, working, getting my head around who I want to be myself, while establishing who I want someone else to be. I’m writing one life story while smack dab in the middle of my own. Every author started at the beginning, everyone had struggles along the way. You work and walk to the midway point, (sometimes run) where, hopefully, you manage to earn the support of an agent, who continues on beside you, carrying a water bottle and a granola bar. You both continue on your way, sometimes stopping, often hitting rough patches. Once your literary child sits on a bookshelf, you hop on your agent’s golf cart, drive to the midway point, and start again.

I’m sitting here in my bedroom, working on homework. Simon and Garfunkel is playing in the background, and sunlight is considering peeking in through my window. I have a cup of coffee (obviously) in my lap. I just read an email about getting tickets to a Broadway show when I’m in New York at the end of this month. I don’t have a copy of March, or Alaska Junction, or The Darcy Complex, or 40 Weeks sitting on my shelf. But I have ideas beyond my wildest dreams, I have ideas that were once dreams. I can flip-flop projects, because I really want to work or March more than Alaska right now. I could take a week off of writing if I wanted to. I’m still walking. But this is the time that I’m supposed to be walking. I’m warming up, I’m stretching my muscles. Before I know it, I’ll be at the “send out a query” checkpoint, but right now, my primary objective is to learn and to live along the way. Sure, it’s not glamorous, or even individualistic. How many adults spent their teenagehood writing in battered notebooks in every spare moment that they could find? I join the ranks of people passionate about their work, who are content where they are. I could not be happier.

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