Friday, February 19

A Series of Truths

Truth time.

One of the topics for this week is books. I’d like to talk about mine, more specifically my writing. Something we as authors don't like to talk about publicly--the hard side to publishing.

We’re already into February 2010 and I’ve just started back to writing after a loooong break. Months, really. The reason? I had many tough changes occur over the last two years in my career, and all of it came to a head at the end of last year. A time that had me questioning if I really had the strength to keep writing.

I had three books that I’d started but I couldn’t move forward with them. There were a lot of factors I really can’t talk about, but it was pretty much a long road of ups and downs.

At one point during my break I said to my husband, “Maybe I’m not cut out to be an author.” He didn’t believe that I was serious. You see, I had a lot of stress since I’d sold my first book back in 2006. Deadlines, lines closing, numbers, promotion, unorganization, yada, yada, yada.

And during the last part of 2009 I just stepped back from it all and it felt…really, really good. It was like my mind took a giant sigh of relief.

Sssssiiiiiiiiiiiigh….

Truth: I love stories. I love movies, and television, and entertaining books. I love characters. I have so many ideas that I just wish I could just splash them all onto the computer screen…

But for a time, I just couldn’t.

After months of thinking it all through, I finally came to the decision that I couldn’t walk away from something I love. But there would some changes. I would be a New “Author” me. I agreed that I wasn’t going to worry over things that I had no control over. I told myself I couldn’t please everyone, and all I can do is my best. It’s the same thing I tell my children, but for some reason I couldn’t follow my own advice. (Haha)

Another truth: I want to write stories that make me happy. So I submitted a romantic suspense to a new e-press and they agreed to publish it. It did make me happy. Gave me a little more confidence. My next test was to write a new short story. I finally finished it.

See? Baby steps…

Publishing is not the easiest business nor is it easy to keep everyone happy, not when it relies so much on the business side when some writers (like me!) would be pretty content to merely concentrate on the creative side.

The final truth: So the New “Author” Me accepts this is as a rollercoaster business. You can be riding along, then suddenly hold on for dear life as you maneuver sharp turns, steep dips, and then slowly go up again maybe for the next dive...

Okay, final, final truth: I’m about to start on my next YA novel and hopefully finish it with a lot less pressure and stress on myself. And then? Well, we’ll see what happens next. :)

15 comments:

Bee said...

I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Like they say, there's a flip side to everything. On the bright side, you seem to have come out stronger, and knowing more than you knew earlier.
G'luck, Kelly!
<3

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Thanks Bee! I think in any career you have to deal with some hardships and I did learn a lot in my first years in publishing. I feel stronger having gone through some tough situations, and it'll be a little easier dealing with the unexpected.

Thanks again for your comment!

Alyson Noel said...

Kelly- Thanks for posting this. I've def had my share of ups & downs in this business, and I often think that had I known how tough it would be--back when I was first starting out-- I may not have ever tried! Most people don't realize that it's just as tough to stay published as it is to get published. But, in the end, writers write, it's what we do, even if you have to redefine what that means to you. I wish you all the best on your new project!
:)

Bev Katz Rosenbaum said...

Amen, Kelly--been there, done that. Best of luck to you!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Alyson, ugh, you're telling me! But your talent and accomplishments really inspire me as well. I think down the road hard work pays off in different ways. And I totally agree--writers write! Thank you for your input!!

haha, Bev! Thanks!!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Hey Kelly, I feel your pain big time. My truth is that I've been honestly feeling that same way lately. Lots of scary ups and downs and it had really slowed my actual writing. I also went through that I think I might quit phase and started getting things together to apply to library science school, but the stories, the characters, they lured me back. So I'm trying to take the pressure off myself as well though it's hard. Reading your entry meant a ton to me though. It felt good to know someone else understands what I've been thinking and I'm going to come back and reread your words of wisdom when the stress piles up!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Steph, I think a lot of authors had a tough year last year with the recession and in different circumstances. I'm glad you didn't throw in the towel either! Even though the business is often hard, I think we learn and we try harder. I believe in you, Steph!! *hugs*

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

hugs back at you, Kel! I believe in you too!

Gerb said...

What Alyson said says it all. Last year was frustrating for me, too, but in the end it comes back to doing what I love and learning to deal with the stresses that come with it. The best reward - reader feedback - makes the journey worth it for me.

I'm glad you're back in the saddle again, Kelly! What's your new YA about?

simmone said...

hi Kelly,
thanks for that post. I know exactly how you feel. I'm writing my third book at the moment and feel like it's taking forever and the words never seem to come out how I imagined they would. I did a panel with Rachel Cohn last year and said to her 'it gets easier, right?; and she just laughed at me (in a nice way) ... I haven't read your books (catching up with reading becomes yet another pressure!) but I'm glad you're writing them, and talking about the stuff that doesn't get airtime. Best of luck with your book - I look forward to reading.
simmone

Wendy Toliver said...

Great post, Kelly! This occupation is so hard and crazy and unpredictable, and it can be especially frustrating b/c many times we as authors have NOTHING to do with the decisions being made all around us. But then,the ups are sooooo amazing, and if I'm not having many ups at a certain point, there's always an author friend I can live vicariously through for a spell! :)

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Gerb, wonderful advice! I'm working on a new YA that I'm still playing with so I can't say what its about yet. haha, but thanks for asking!

Simmone, it's so great for you to share with us! Yes, it is tough. I'm just hoping things to balance out. Good luck with your writing!!

Wendy, so true! It helps to have wonderful writer friends like TFC!!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Congratulations on the new attitude, Kelly! I always say that the first draft is for me - working on the first draft *should* make you happy, even though it is hard work; it's when it comes time to revise and afterward that the rest of the world comes into view. And oh yeah, the last year+ - definitely a tough time to be a writer.

Sara Hantz said...

Thanks for sharing this Kelly, it really struck home as I'm having problems at the moment!!!

Melissa said...

Like everyone is saying, Kelly, "Me too!" I feel your pain and I get so frustrated some days that I want to (okay I do) cry. But then I get into a scene that spurs me on, and I feel that energy again. Sometimes that only happens once in 6 months, but that day is so worth it. Thanks for sharing this.