Every time someone asks me what it takes to be a published author, I give the same answer: Commitment.
Commitment to plant your butt in a chair day after day, week after week, month after month. Commitment to the process of submitting your work to agents and publishers. Commitment to publicity and marketing. You can’t just go through the motions. It will show.
With the Winter Olympics coming up in about two weeks, we will be hearing a lot about commitment as the personal stories of the athletes unfold between the televised events. I love hearing the stories of these dedicated men and women who have sacrificed so much, juggling family and jobs to pursue their particular discipline and dream. It makes watching the events much more dramatic and personal.
As writers, we’re participating in our own Olympics. I’m not talking about competing with each other for prizes, but competing with ourselves for each book to be better than the last. The Olympians, while vying for medals, do that. With each luge run, slalom or triple jump, they are competing with themselves to better their last performance. Only commitment will bring improvement.
Then something occurred to me. Being committed is also the term used when someone is placed in an institution for mental problems. In that instance, being committed is equated with being crazy or at least unbalanced. That led me to that old saying: The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.
Hmmm, does that mean the Olympians are insane? Or that we're crazy for pounding out book after book and expecting each one to be better than the last?
I’ve been called insane for the schedule I keep, and crazy for the number of books I've agreed to write each year. In a few days I will deliver Murder In Vein to my publisher. It’s the first book in my new vampire mystery series and I wrote it in just over two months. My manager thinks it’s the best book I’ve written to date. I’m not sure about that yet. To me, it’s still a blur, like the faces of a crowd standing in the snow watching me race downhill towards the finish line.
I made a commitment and will deliver on it. In the meantime, I feel like I'll be ready for a straight jacket when it’s over.
VIVA LE NUTS!
Sue Ann Jaffarian
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