Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Getting Published: Magic or Not?

I just read Shannon Hale’s great post about her movie not changing her life. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven't heard of her, here’s a little background. She’s a bestselling author who recently helped write the screenplay based on her book Austenland. You’d think that kind of experience would change your life. According to Hale, not so much.

From her blog: 
"At a Q&A after one screening of Austenland, someone asked me, "How has having a movie made from your book changed your life?" And I couldn't think of any ways.

It's a legitimate question, and it reminded me that before all this, I would have assumed that such a thing would be life changing.

Things having a movie made from my book has not done:

Not made me rich
Not changed my career
Not changed my daily life
Not changed how the people in my life see or relate to me
Not changed how I write
Not opened doors to me that were previously closed"

This post hit me square in the brain. It's not the first thing I've read about lowering my expectations. I’m well aware of the fact that I will probably never be on Oprah and my only appearance on a bestseller list may be the Podunksville Herald. That didn’t stop me from thinking that somehow, magically, being published would change my life.

So what would change?

*People would actually care that I was writing. True, they might only care in the fact that I’m not selling or missing my deadlines. It would be better then the current mild interest my Grandmother throws my way. Are you still doing that writing thing?

*I might receive some kind of wage for the time I’m using. Okay, this is the big one. The idea of being able to at least pay my rent is insanely appealing. Since I have the world’s most bizarre resume the long shot might be the best shot!

*Finally, finally, getting there. I’ve been writing while hoping to get published for a very long time. Something close to half of my life. It’s taken this long to even have drafts that don’t make people’s eyes blister. I'm so excited for the moment when I can be proud that people read my stuff instead of horrified.

What wouldn’t change?

*I'd still be married to a cute guy who puts up with my crazy.

* I’d probably still be pretty poor, with a lot of work for a whole lot of not much.

*I'd probably still work with teenagers who think I'm ancient at 24.

In other words, my life would mostly go about the same cycle it’s always been.

Things I thought would change:

*Ummm…. Having just been disabused of these notions my brain is hiding them from me. Kind of like it’s hides the actual attractiveness of your exes. I think it involved parades, glitter, and eternal chocolate everything. Or maybe just feeling awesome for the rest of my life. Which could still happen, depending.

Even knowing that my wildest fantasies aren't real I don't want to stop trying to get published. To me, the things that will change are worth the work I have to put in to get there. Now for you. How are your expectations doing?


  1. I think for me, the biggest thing I'm hoping that will change is just the validation. I mean, when people ask what I do with my time, or what I'm writing, I want them to know that I'm actually good at it, and not just a crazy cat lady, lol. Now, I think most people kind of look at me with that "aww, poor puppy" kind of expression where they secretly think I'm really really weird, but if I were published, then it'd become cool rather than weird :)

    1. The pity is the worst for me. That "I'm attempting to be supportive but don't you know that no one really gets published?" face.