Friday, May 31, 2019

I Tried!

I wrote the first draft of Valencia and Valentine in three months, back in 2015. There's a blog post I wrote that summer that I went back to this week. In it, I wrote about how the whole book thing got started and what I was going to do with it next. I finished with these words:

...I have very low expectations, and am naturally very pessimistic about the whole thing. But I just want to try. Because sometimes trying is the fun part, and having tried is such a great feeling. Much better than having wished but not tried. I said to Sarah, or Mystery Friend, or both of them, that my goal was, ultimately, to write a book I liked. If someone else liked it, even cooler. And if it got published, that's just beyond anything I'd expect or hope for.

So, already, I'm 'there'. I'm where I wanted to be in the first place and I've still got some energy to expend. I figure now I'll just go as far as I can from here, and then when I feel like I've given it all the time and energy it deserves, I'll step back and see what I've got and hold my hands out in front of me and say, "That's that!"

And then I'll go do something else, or maybe this again! Isn't life nice?

A question authors like to ask each other is, "When will you feel like you have succeeded?" But we all know the answer is a carrot on a string, always moving farther away, making you look like an idiot for chasing it. The answer changes from "When I'm agented" to "When I get published" to "When I become a bestseller" to "When Reece Witherspoon turns this thing into a movie." It's easy, once you enter the Publishing Machine, to get caught up in the cogs. The lists, the politics of which books get promoted and put on the shelves, the reviews, the sales numbers.

But back when I wrote this book, I only wanted to try. I didn't have an idea of what success looked like because my goal wasn't to succeed. It was just to try. I acknowledged the daydreams that hung around in my periphery, but my only real aim was taking the shot in the first place.

Tomorrow is the official publication day for Valencia and Valentine. Lots is happening. I'm frazzled and nervous and excited and, really, kind of a mess, but mostly, I'm just happy that I tried. Now to step back and see what I've got.

That's that.