So, tomorrow is the release of The Teacher’s Vet…barring any funny business from Amazon or other retailers. And it’ll mark the beginning of what might be a crazy release end of year for me. And it’s almost surreal.
Last year was hell. I will remember 2012 as one of the worst years of my life for the rest of my life. The one good thing that I want to remember is the kids’ first trip to Disneyland in 2012…that was overshadowed by the death of my grandmother two days before we left. They live near Disneyland, and I hadn’t seen them in years. We’d been planning on visiting. I cried periodically in Disneyland. You know life is bad when you’re crying in Disneyland. I subsequently had to get back on OCD meds shortly after because stress aggravates my OCD…and I’m glad I did because 2012 only got worse from there. It was awful. I told my agent many times that I was ready to walk away from writing…from publishing…that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t keep putting a part of me out for the world when I didn’t have anything left.
It was a bad year. So bad that I want to wish it never happened…but I can’t because that living hell changed everything.
Last year, I decided to do something crazy…I decided since it was leap year, I’d read 366 titles. I didn’t. I read 393 titles. (Don’t believe me? Here they are: 393 is insane.) I read all sorts of stuff I’d been meaning to read. I read books on writing. I read books on body language and personality typing. I read romances. I read classics. I went through an Agatha Christie phase. I read and read. Life sucked so I read more to escape it. Last year was the biggest skill jump in my writing that I’ve experienced yet. I learned how to incorporate body language. I fleshed out my characters by learning about personality types. I started using beat sheets. And as I read other books, I started recognizing what made a good read.
When November rolled around and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) came, I wanted to write something funny…something based on a joke on Twitter. I wanted desperately to laugh. I needed to laugh. If I wasn’t laughing, I’d be crying. November was really, really bad. So, I wrote something funny…and then I wrote its sequel. And I may have news about that someday soon.
I also subbed a memoir piece to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum last year.
I worked on Frosted the end of last year.
I started off this year with the saying in my head: I DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS CRAP.
2013 started off with Frosted being published. Then, in April, I was in Chicken Soup for the Soul with my memoir piece on raising kids with Autism. All the work I’d done on various revisions in 2012 to escape my life…meant I had manuscripts that I could sub this year…so I did. And some of the things I’d subbed last year were picked up on contracts or will be soon.
I contacted Cerridwyn about publishing The Teacher’s Vet. Last year wouldn’t have been right for them. This year was better. And my editor worked in a veterinary office for years and could fix some of the mistakes I’d made with details in that novella. What are the odds that I’d end up with an editor with that experience?
Actually, the odds were good…because I did deserve better than that 2012 crap.
In the next few months, you might think, “Whoa, Wendy! Holy releases!” I’ll be thinking that if you aren’t. It’s going to be insane. The word “lucky” might even come to mind.
Malcolm Gladwell said that to master a craft you need to log in 10,000 hours. Until you’ve paid…you keep practicing. In October of this year, I’ll have been seriously pursuing writing as a career for five years. I’d never even joke about being a master, but I hit 10,000 hours last year by my estimation based on the number of words I’ve written. I’m starting to show those words I mean business.
To be perfectly honest, any longer works I put out prior to this year would make my eyes bleed today…and my OCD scream. I know–I’m reading through old drafts and wanting to call Past Wendy “cute” and pat her head. “You thought that was good writing? You’re adorable.” Looking back, I’m glad that this year is the year I’m publishing more than short stories.
Also, in the end, I think it shows that I went through hell to get to 2013. Last year changed me. It changed my writing. It made the timing of this year perfect…even as the timing of last year sucked.
As writers, so many times we look at our fellow authors with a bit of envy. It’s our curse…partly because we know that there is always someone better than us and maybe they’d even tell our stories better. Or maybe it’s because it seems like they’re reaping the rewards without all the work. I hate that envy and jealousy creep in my head. If I’ve learned anything from the last two years it’s that you can’t know what someone had to go through to find success. You also can’t predict when the timing will be right for you or for anyone.
As I’m writing this last paragraph, I just got an email that made me smile…something else from last year is finding its spot in my life. Things are falling into place because the timing is right–because I needed to go through last year to get here.
So, when The Teacher’s Vet comes out tomorrow and more things are released, I hope it shows that I paid my dues by surviving 2012…and that it turns out I really did deserve better than that crap.
By the way, last year also showed me how kind and real friendships made online can be. Those friendships have helped me post about OCD and kept me going on writing when I desperately wanted to give up on it and me. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this. You mean a lot to me…and there are no words to express how grateful I am for this online world that I can be a part of when the real world freaks me out. If I meet any of you in real life, you will get a hug…and you know how hard that is for me. YOU WILL BE HUGGED.