Surprises Of The Writing Life

The writing journey is filled with a strange dichotomy of emotions. We reach one summit, suck in a deep, satisfied breath, and gaze at the beautiful view before us. Then the next moment, we hit a dip in the road, tumble into a backward fall, and cringe at the pain.

Although life is filled with the "two steps forward, one step back" principle, the writing life seems especially characterized by the back-and-forth mix.

There are so many high places: discovering a new plot twist, getting positive feedback from a crit partner, bringing a chapter to a satisfying completion, having an agent ask for a partial.

But we fall into just as many low places: hitting a research snag, missing a plot thread, getting the hundredth rejection letter, failing a word count goal.

No matter where we're at on the writing journey, we ALL have highs and lows. Getting an agent doesn't smooth out the trail, and achieving a book contract certainly doesn't either. In fact, I've noticed lately my emotions are swinging into higher highs and lower lows.

This week I'd like to delve deeper into the range of emotions I've experienced lately--both the thrills and insecurities. . .

Today, however, I wanted to share about another emotion--something I've encountered more and more lately. That emotion is surprise.

Last weekend, I treated my family to a special celebration trip to Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park. Back in the spring when I was working on my Genesis Contest entries, I promised my children I'd take them on a get-away if I ever got a book contract.

I was delighted to finally fulfill that promise. We spent three days living in our swim suits, riding intertube slides, and splashing in warm pools.

One of the best parts of the water park was an enormous bucket at the pinnacle of all of the slides. Water continuously poured into the bucket and every twenty minutes or so a bell would ring to signal that the water level was nearing the top. Then, when it was completely full, the bucket would tip, spilling gallons and gallons of water on anyone below. (In the picture above, my son is waiting in that spot!)

For those getting the dump, the emotion was always the same: surprise. Even when they purposefully positioned themselves under the bucket, they'd jump back and gasp as the water splashed against their skin.

Surprise. Even when we're expecting certain aspects of the writing journey, we often jump back and gasp in surprise when we're splashed--splashes of unexpected friendships and buckets of warm encouragement. We may even prepare ourselves for rejection, but it never fails to sting when it hits us.

Lately, the biggest deluge of surprise for me has been the work load. Even though I expected my contract would bring more responsibility and work, I'm still finding myself gulping for air and spluttering out the mouthful of water I've swallowed.

Can a contracted author really work part time at a writing career? I'm not sure. It's getting harder for me to keep the hours to a minimum. Perhaps part of the challenge is in my personality--embracing everything I do with a one hundred and ten percent gusto.

On the other hand, more is expected of the modern writer than the actual writing, including the ever-growing need to market our books and ourselves as authors. I'm still trying to figure out how to best handle all of the new challenges.

Has anything about the writing journey taken you by surprise, even if you thought it wouldn't? Please share!

P.S. If you're interested in writing contests, head over to Seekerville where I'm guest posting today about my contest success story.

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