Four years ago today, I got some happy, happy news.
I was awarded my first book contract.
I still remember the congratulatory e-mail plain as day and how excited I was when relaying the news to my hubby, Will. I'm pretty sure the words "slow down" and "breathe" were used.
We celebrated later that evening with a 5:00 p.m. matinee (and yes, I still remember the movie) and a great Italian meal.
Now four years later, I'm feeling a little nostalgic and remember all things I didn't know when I got that contract—like how many hours a day I'd be writing for the next four months to actually finish my first novel (16 was the norm), what the whole developmental edit process was like (not nearly as painful as I expected) or that novels weren't written in AP style (as a journalist, I can't tell how difficult it was actually spelling out numbers over 10 with actual words like "forty" or putting that comma after the third item in a series, always a no-no in the magazine world).
Even worse yet is how ill-prepared I was for what happens after the novel is finished. Yeah, that's when the real work starts. As anyone who's already done so already knows, writing a novel is hard work. But convincing a bookstore owner that you're worthy of having a signing in his/her store, well, that's another matter entirely.
Now as I'm carefully plotting out my third novel, I come into it, knowing far more than I did in the beginning. But it's amazing how the world of books is a constant learning curve, and trust me, I understand why it's completely overwhelming for aspiring writers because I've been there. But I guess I'm writing all of this to say that it's absolutely, positively worth it, and I already can't wait for you to celebrate your book contract because indeed, it was a beautiful day.