The view from the other side of “published”

My debut book has been out in the world for six weeks now. It’s been read and reviewed, and received better than I ever dared to hope. I am a published author now.

I’ve always known that this was only the first step of this road; that I was going to do everything in my power to learn and grow and work hard every day, because writing books and making a living as an author is my dream and my goal. So I knew. I still know.

Except now, from the other side of “published,” when the excitement of the virtual book tour is behind me and the obsessive need to check Goodreads ratings five times a day is slowly abating, that plan has become more than determination and a goal. As I work on my second novel, start taking notes for my third, and try to work out a proper schedule of writing every day, I realize, perhaps for the first time with such understanding, what it means that I’m working on making a career as an author.

– It means that writing every day can’t be an option, but a priority.
– It means that while working on several things at the same time is fine, the original novels take precedence over the fandom stories and need to be tackled first in my daily schedule.
– It means that no matter how hard it is sometimes to juggle freelance translation projects, teaching, parenting, and writing, it’s no excuse. Nothing is an excuse; if I want it, I have to make time, find energy, and work to get it. Every day.
– It means that while social media is hard for my chaotic, introverted mind to keep up with regularly, that’s not an excuse either. I won’t ever be perfect, but I have to try and try again.
– It means working through some long-ingrained beliefs, doubts and inhibitions, carving a schedule for my procrastinating self (and sticking to it!), and demanding respect for my writing time and space from my loved ones.
– It means fighting my anxiety every day.
– It means doing this crazy, beautiful thing step by step, in little changes, leaps of faith, and feats of courage.

I knew all this – I thought  I knew all this before. But I feel it more now, somehow. No longer like I’m just playing with something I love, but more like I’m taking this love and weaving a life out of it, a little bit every day. And it’s scary just as much as it’s exhilarating. It will overwhelm me time and again, I know; I will disappear into my stories or my thoughts for a few weeks, and I will come back.

But one thing I know for certain. I’m here to stay. No matter how hard it may be.

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