Friday, May 16, 2014

Sink or Swim

A little over one year ago, I sent off a proposal. I’d never done such a thing. It was kind of exciting. Also a little scary. Okay, maybe a little more than a little scary. It was pretty terrifying. Why? Because it wasn’t just a proposal for one book. It was the proposal for five books. I figured if I had an editor’s attention, I might as well take advantage of it. Right?

I didn’t really know what to expect. But what I expected most—my biggest hope—was to get an email back saying the stories looked interesting. What I got back was an email saying she wanted them. All of them. Not only did she want them, she was giving me contracts for all five books. I just needed to come up with a series name. Universal Defiance was born.

I spent the next year writing, polishing, and editing what turned out to be six books. Yes, six. Funny enough, Extreme Circumstances wasn’t in the original proposal. But when I got into the heart of the series, I knew I was missing a story. And once I knew it was missing, I had no choice but to write it and deal with the time crunch the best I could.  And so write it, I did.

Two weeks ago I turned in the final book to my editor. And I find myself wondering, did I sink or swim with this whole experience?  There was no doubt I threw myself into the deep end with this particular project. Once the contracts were signed, I was legally obligated to get these books done and submitted. Which meant there were no outs.

I think I’m comfortable saying I didn’t sink. I got it done. And I’m inordinately proud of the story I told. I don’t think I compromised my vision in any way, shape or form. But by no means can this journey be equated to the graceful strokes of swimming. I am a swimmer. It’s my sport. And I know what I’ve done over the past year bears no resemblance to it. 

The bottom line is, writing is hard. And there are moments, when I look back, that I’m not overly proud of. Private moments—mind you. Moments of doubt, despair, and frustration. Moments where I swore I’d never write another word for as along as I drew breath. But, thankfully, those moments passed. And when they did, I clung to my work and my worlds with nothing more than raw determination.

No. I did not swim. But I think it might be fair to say I treaded water admirably. And sometimes that takes more skill than swimming.

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