The writer’s life is not easy. Most of us will experience ups and downs, highs and lows. Yet, because the rewards are great and we love what we do, we push through the tough times. Today, author Meg Moseley shares a bit of her own ride. I enjoyed her candor, and I think you will too. ~ Dawn
A Rollercoaster Ride
by Meg Moseley
At a writers’ conference, I once heard a speaker call the publishing industry “a sick little business.”
Good, I thought. Somebody’s brave enough to say it.
Then I realized she’d said “a cyclical business.”
I like the misheard version, though. Publishing is indeed a sick little business, a strange blend of art and commerce. Writers have to hone their craft and cling to their artistic vision while they market their books, conquer paperwork, and learn the latest social media.
It’s a rollercoaster ride. When the rollercoaster makes a heart-stopping drop, you can’t hear your muse’s whisper over the screams. Add some real-life stress, and you’ve got twin rollercoasters pounding side by side through unpredictable twists and turns.
My debut novel released during a particularly chaotic time for me. It was the year of a fractured arm, a dying mother, and a tornado hitting our house. About the time the rollercoaster slowed down, I was on deadline for Book 2—and we were moving.
I turned in the book, although I’m still awaiting my editor’s revisions letter. My husband and I accomplished our move, although we still have boxes to unpack. I’m trying to give myself a break from my to-do list and from obsessing over Book 3, but stress hangs over me like Pooh’s little black raincloud.
My agent advises keeping a “sunshine file” for dark days. My file holds extra good reviews, fan mail, and such. I don’t open it often, but knowing it’s there helps me remember the sunshine.
Personal encounters are better than a sunshine file. Yesterday I met an older woman who’d read When Sparrows Fall. She sat me down in her kitchen and asked fascinating questions about the writing process. We talked about symbolism and editors and where characters come from, but we talked about our own histories too. She was a teenager during World War II when Daylight Savings Time, or “War Time,” went into effect. Her town chose to observe double the daylight savings, so darkness came very early on winter days. She remembers ice-skating by the light of headlights. The memory made her smile, and her lively retelling of it made me smile.
I came away knowing I hadn’t just met a fan. I had made a friend. It was a joy to connect with her—and I wouldn’t have met her if I’d been holed up with my computer and my to-do list.
Lesson learned? Sometimes we have to walk away from the to-do list, the looming deadline or the latest rejection letter, and find some sunshine. Our rollercoasters will be waiting when we come back. I promise. This is a cyclical business, and a sick little business, but it can be a healing business too. Story is a gift from God, and serving Him and people through that gift is a privilege. We can be part of the process of bringing light into darkness. What a blessing it is!
A Californian transplanted to Georgia, Meg Moseley took the scenic route to her lifelong goal of being a novelist. She has been a candle-maker in a tourist town, an administrative assistant at a college, a homeschool mom, and a newspaper columnist. Her debut novel, When Sparrows Fall, was published in May of 2011 by Multnomah Books. Her second novel will come out from Multnomah in September of 2012. Meg’s favorite spot for plotting new stories is on the back of her husband’s motorcycle as he takes her on rides in the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee, or the Carolinas.
To learn more about Meg, please visit her
website at http://megmoseley.com and
her blog at http://megmoseley.wordpress.com.