One of the oft-asked questions in interviews, is “Tell us about how you came to be published.” My response is the fairly generic, “Once upon a time I wanted to be a writer…” because I’m never quite sure if I should reveal the entire, seemingly endless angsty events.
But, in the event you write or read an author’s response, I’m fairly certain that the timeline below is the behind the scenes, real deal.
Here is the timeline of the journey to publication:
1. You have an idea.
2. You begin to write a book.
3. After the first two chapters, you are so smitten with your own genius, you pause to jot down the names of actors who will [consider themselves lucky to] portray your characters.
4. After chapter two and a half, you decide it’s time to dust the fireplace, crochet the twelve bedspreads you’ve been buying yarn to complete for the past ten years, and start a scrapbook for each of your children, your yet-to-be-born grandchildren, and the family pet(s).
5. You continue writing [or gazing at the monitor] and decide that repeatedly poking yourself in the eye with a hot stick would be welcome relief from the blinking, pulsating, taunting, annoying cursor.
6. You light fires in August and clean out the fireplace again.
7. You remember you’re writing Christian fiction, so you duct tape your mouth closed.
8. You read about a twelve-year-old who wrote her first novel in six days whose agent just sold international rights, movie rights, and rights that haven’t been invented yet. You look for the stick to poke in her your eye that you’re going to light in the clean fireplace.
9. You consider a feeding tube and a catheter so you won’t have to walk away from your desk.
10. You reach the middle of the book. You wonder if the same people who told not to buy stock in Appleare the people who told you that you could write.
11. You tug on God’s sleeve and ask Him if He wouldn’t mind, pretty please, pretty please with a cherry the size of unsaved nation on top, you promise you’ll be a good girl, clean up the room of your soul, be nice to His people, if He’d just this one time, you promise never to ask again, it’s just an itsy-bitsy favor. . . could He send a host of heavenly angels to descend upon your computer and finish this novel.
12. The angels must be flying stand-by. They don’t appear, but a new flavor of Blue Bell does. You eat a half-gallon for each thigh.
13. You hear about the lady who didn’t leave the bathroom for two years and was stuck to the potty seat. You’re sure they didn’t mention she was balancing a laptop on her knees and was waiting for inspiration.
14. You have to finish the novel because your legs are permanently bent at the knees, and you’ll need the advance to pay the orthopedic doctor.
15. You send off three chapters to an agent. You feel like you sent a photo of your left arm, right foot and the back of your head to Match.Com and asked for a date with Prince Charming.
16. Step #15.
17. Step #15.
18. A dream agent asks for the full manuscript. You pray. You go to the post office. You pray. You hand the postal clerk the package and walk away like you just left your first-born at day care.
19. You pray.
20. Repeat step #19 for a few weeks.
21. The dream agent calls. You pray you’re not dreaming.
22. You scrape yourself off every wall you’ve bounced off of for days because YOU HAVE AN AGENT!!!!!!!!!!
23. You do the happy dance for God and because of God and with God and thank God.
24. Your agent takes over and you are oh, so grateful that she’ll be representing you to publishing houses.
25. You continue to write because you know the light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlamp of an oncoming train.
26. People ask when the book’s coming out. You tell them you don’t have a clue. You smile because you know, one day, you will have a clue. But until then. . . you write, you pray, you write.
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