Thursday, May 5, 2016

What I've Learned in My First Year as a Published Author

One year ago today, THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING was published. I knew this day was coming, so I've spent the last week reflecting on my last year as a writer, and the truth is, I've come up empty. This ground has already been trod by so many other, better writers that I haven't been able to come up with anything to add to the conversation, and yet I couldn't let the day pass without at least mentioning it, so here we are.

My day-to-day life hasn't changed at all much in the last year. I do events very occasionally--other authors do a much better job of getting into schools and bookstores and generally putting themselves out there, so if you're looking for a tutorial, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place--but for the most part, I just live life. I get out of bed, get my older kids ready for school, hop on my computer, feed Monster copious amounts of Goldfish® crackers, hop back on my computer, hang out with my family, and hop back on my computer after the kids have gone to bed (unless Honey Bear and I decide to watch a movie or an episode of Parks and Recreation, our latest Netflix binge). I'm one of those people who thrive on routine and consistency, so this quiet, non-stressful life is perfectly suited to my tastes (read: I'm an introverted homebody who doesn't like to interact with the outside world).

It takes self-discipline to write a book, to revise it, and to get it published, and in lots of ways, it takes even more to write the next one. When you have a book on the shelf (virtual or otherwise), it's easier to let yourself get caught up in extracurricular activities. Hanging out on Twitter can suddenly be chalked up to promotion, and school visits are fun (and also kind of terrifying, but that's another post). But if you want to sell another book, you actually have to write one.

That's both the bad news and the good news--bad news because there's no shortcut, not even if you're James Patterson (okay, a little bit if you're James Patterson, since, you know, he uses ghostwriters), and good news because the thrill of writing is why we took this gig in the first place. I only got to be a debut author once, but I get to experience the head rush of finishing a first draft over and over again.

If I've learned anything in my first year as a published author, it's that writers are writers, from Stephen King to you and me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Jenni Enzor said...

This is very encouraging to me that you're still able to have a quiet life with your family. That's what I would like to continue whenever that published book happens. Thanks for sharing your insider's view!

JeffO said...

I always enjoy your positive attitude, Krista. Happy Bookiversary!

Leandra Wallace said...

Sounds like a wonderful routine you've worked out for yourself. I'm more about family and routine too. Taking a trip every now and then is nice, but I'd much rather snuggle down in my house the rest of the time. =)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

It's very encouraging to me, too, Jenni.

Thanks, JeffO. I wish I had a positive attitude all the time, but I try not to blog unless I'm feeling up:)

Leandra, it sounds like we'd be good friends in that we'd only want to hang out, like, once a month:)