The writing life is a strange one — a mix of solitude and public scrutiny that are night-and-day different. There are seasons where I’m alone at my desk, creating and revisiting “book world” (as I fondly think of each new place that comes into existence inside my head) and seasons where a project that has only been seen by a handful of people suddenly becomes a commodity up for discussion by reviewers and regular readers alike.
It’s weird, I tell you. Kind of jarring, actually, to move between such extremes.
I’m almost ten years in on the publishing side of my writing life (and almost twenty-four years in on the rest of it), and in some ways I feel like I’m finally getting my stride. I’m learning to fret less about the creative process (most days!). I’m finding less internal pressure to hustle (though it can be hard when you’re your own boss not to march to the beat of “Produce! Publish! Don’t be forgotten!”). I’m learning to sit with the uncertainty of all that is out of my hands (but maybe my agent would tell you differently?). I’ve examined and refined what it means to me to be successful and what it is I’m trying to do with my work. I’ve exchanged countless emails with my dear writing partner, Valerie Geary, about these very things. (Here’s a recent Instagram post by the lovely Natalie Lloyd that resonated with both of us.)
What I’m saying is I think I’m finally figuring things out!
Mind you, I’m writing this on the tail end of a few years in the solitude season. Soon there will be a book cover to share, and soon after that, advance reader copies will go out to reviewers. The public side of the writing life will begin again in jarring full swing. This time around I’m going in with a few more years of grace and maturity under my belt (fingers crossed I remember this), a few more manuscripts on the back burner, and the reminder that I’m living my dream. I get to do the thing I yearned for forever. So far, publishers are still taking a chance on me.
What a weird world. What a wonderful one.