So 2014 was a year, man. A year that definitively changed my life. I’m not going to get into everything that happened because if you are reading this blog then you probably at least know I’m an author and I write kissing and stuff. And I have books that you can buy.
Let’s just say 2014 was a lot of writing. I wrote six books, went to signings, an RT convention and did a whole hell of a lot of promoting.
And 2014 was a year of learning. Holy hell did I learn a lot. About myself. About this business. About how I’m going to survive this business. So, if you’re still reading, here we go:
1.) Don’t fight the writer I am.
I think Stephen King said something like this — don’t try to be the writer you aren’t. And you know what? Best advice ever. My voice is my voice. Not everyone it going to love it and that’s okay. It doesn’t make them wrong. Differences are what makes the world go ’round. But that doesn’t mean I can write against the grain of my voice. All I can do is smooth it out a little, but I have to be the writer I am.
And that also means I’m probably never going to write dark, psychological mindfucks. Even my angstier books are tempered with humor and cheesiness. And you know what? I’m a total cheesy dork in real life, so that comes through in my writing. And I have to be true to myself. Overall, I have to make myself smile when I write, or why else am I doing this?
So yeah, this year I embraced it. I wrote what was in my head and I didn’t temper it and I found editors who didn’t water me down. I’m grateful for that.
2.) Cling to my writer friends like a damn tree monkey.
I’m lucky in that I have amazing critique partners and author friends. I mean, they are simply amazing. We make each other laugh and we raise each other up and we cheer each other on. On top of everything else, we allow ourselves a little bit of whining every now and then. But we never forget to put on our big girl or big boy panties, sit our asses down, and get writing. We share passages from WIPs. We remind each other why we are doing this in the first place — because we can’t imagine doing anything else. We have to get these stories out of our heads or we’ll explode.
If it wasn’t for my friends, I’m not sure I could get through the ups and downs of this business. They ground me and get me out of the social media vacuum of promo and craziness. They are everything to me.
3.) Eyes on my own paper.
This is my journey. Mine. It’s no one else’s and it’s unique to me. It doesn’t matter what Cindy Lou is doing over there or what Ronald McDonald is doing over here. All that matters is that I’m putting out the stories I want to tell. The comparison game is nothing but a wasteland full of land mines.
I’m not privy to why others make the publishing decisions they did just like they are not privy to why I made mine. We all have our reasons. No one is wrong. So, I keep my eyes on my own paper. I’m happier that way.
4.) Be professional and polite and thankful.
My agent? She works her ass off for me. So do my editors. So do my publicists. So do my cover illustrators and every one at the publishing houses I’m with. Sure it’s their job, but this business is rough if you don’t love it. They are people and they deserve to be treated with respect. I try to end every email thanking other professionals for their time, just like they do to me. It’s no skin off my nose to say thank you. Plus, I mean it; I appreciate what they do. And I want people to say that I’m easy to work with because my reputation matters to me. The last thing I want is for a contract not to get renewed because I’m a douchebag.
Also, those readers and bloggers? They have lives too. They are taking time out of their schedule to read my book, to tweet me or FB message me. To do generous giveaways and write reviews. God love them. They deserve my respect and admiration. And they deserve to be thanked for their time. And if I’m ever remiss on that, you call me on it, readers and bloggers. Because you make my world work. I love ya.
5.) No book is the same.
I swear I draft every book I write differently. I don’t have a system. Would it be easier if I did? Probably. But that doesn’t really work for me. Each book has its own challenges and once I think I know what I’m doing, a character throws me for a loop. So, around book… 4… of this year, I stopped panicking about it. I finally have confidence that I will actually finish a book I start. Which is 90% of the battle. So when I hit a rough patch. I don’t lose my cool. I take a deep breath and I let the story breathe and then I attack again.
6.) ABFW — Always. Be. Fucking. Writing.
Seriously. Write. I realize there are other aspects to the business and those need to get done too. But honestly, quit yapping and write. Turn on Freedom or unplug your wi-fi and get those words on the page. I get a lot of questions about how I write so fast. I don’t know? I have a limited amount of time each week that are “work days.” If I don’t use that time wisely, shit doesn’t get done. Deadlines don’t get met. So. Yeah. That’s what I do. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it — when I’m driving, when I’m cooking, when I’m laying in bed. This is my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
And all of these lessons have set me up for 2015, which, if you don’t know, is a little crazy for me. I’ll publish 9 books next year with three different publishers. My head is spinning, but in a good way. I’ll have another post later in the week looking ahead. But for now, I wanted to look back. 2014, you were pretty damn good to me.
<3 — Megan