Tag Archives: pros and cons of being a writer

My Week as an Author: the Many Ups and Downs

18 Jun

If you follow my Facebook page, then you’ve seen the events that I am about to talk about, and you saw them happen to me in real-time. (What can I say? Facebook is my go-to place to speak to you all live.) But if you don’t follow my Facebook page:

1. You missed out on all of the crazy events that happened this week.

2. You should be following my Facebook page. (I post entertaining stories, things that make you laugh, and the occasional interview. I even give away prizes, like guest blog post opportunities. I promise.)

So today I am sharing all of the crazy events that happened to me this week and how they affected me. Some were fantastic and others took my little ego down a notch. Why am I sharing this? Because readers are often sending me questions about what it is like to be an author. In fact, ever since I posted The Pros and Cons of Being An Author, one of the main questions I get asked is what my life is like and how I’ve dealt with ups and downs. And this week is a perfect example of how hectic, crazy, lovely, and insanely exciting it can be to be an author. (Did I mention soul-crushing and absolutely uplifting as well?)

Hopefully, these ups and downs that I went through will give insight to those who are curious about my author life and authors in general, but remember: no matter what, you must stay positive and believe in yourself. You’re following your dream after all.

The events are listed in the order that they happened:

I received a rejection for my poetry collection:

That’s right. I get rejected, too. Just because you’ve been published before, even in the same genre, does not mean you’ll be accepted everywhere you go. In fact, I’ve been rejected dozens of times, especially before I got November Snow published in 2007. A few months ago one of my favorite literary magazines – The Normal School – opened up their submissions for their fifth annual poetry competition. My collection didn’t make it. If I had to be completely honest, this is the second time I’ve been rejected by them. (The first time was a nonfiction piece.) But I am definitely going to keep trying! Even though every rejection hurts a little, you have to find the strength to fight back. One of my goals is to beat my fear of publishing nonfiction, so I’m working on getting at least one essay published within the next two years. Having a goal helps me accept rejection as the next step toward acceptance. That might seem backwards, but – to me – having a goal reminds me that I haven’t given up and how I won’t give up. It keeps me focused, and it prevents me from dwelling. When one door closes, it helps you move onto trying to open the next door in the hallway of life. In fact, on this exact same day, a door opened to me:

I received an acceptance letter for my short story:

On the same day I received a rejection, I received an acceptance. A few hours passed between the two, but I was glad I remained positive because I was able to be fully excited about this moment instead of allowing the rejection to taint my positive moment. The short story is slated for release in August of this year, but that’s all I can say for now.

I hit 20,000 words in Death Before Daylight

I mention this for many reasons, but here’s the main reason. It wasn’t a letter I received. It was a result of my hard work. If I allow myself to get distracted by the rejection, I might not have met this goal. It might have set me back a few days. Is that really worth it? I don’t think so. Staying focused on achieving the next step of my future publication is vital to enjoying my writing career. I’m not saying that a writer can’t take a day or two off to feel sad, but writers have to get back up again. For me, I don’t enjoy taking days off. It makes me feel like I’m letting disappointment control me, and I don’t want disappointment to control me. I want my dream to guide me. So I dove right back into Death Before Daylight the second I had some time off of work, and I met a goal I’ve been dying to meet. Plus, I thought fans of The Timely Death Trilogy would enjoy some news. If you’re on my Facebook, you also saw this little teaser:

booknews

I received my final edits for Take Me Tomorrow:

If you haven’t realized this, we are SUPER behind in meeting the publication deadline, so I’ve been biting my nails off. I practically don’t have any right now, but receiving the edits releaved all of that stress – which means that I had a moment feeling a little ridiculous for being so nervous about the edits in the first place. They were going to come no matter what. Worse case scenario, the publication date gets pushed back a little bit, and that’s not a tragedy at all. It’s still coming out after all. I wanted to share this because it shows how a negative focus can disrupt the overall positive experience of getting a novel published. Don’t be like me. Enjoy these moments fully because – when it’s all over and done with – you’re going to have your novel in your hands, and you’re going to want to look back and forward with a smile on your face. You’re working hard! Enjoy that work.

Amtrak Residency program sent me a rejection notice

I’m sure you’re probably starting to realize how often I apply to different events as a writer. Sure, I’m focused on my novels, but I’m also focused on gaining more from different experiences. I applied for this a few months ago. Basically, Amtrak allowed writers to apply to travel on their trains for free as they blogged about their travels. I love traveling. I love writing. It was perfect for me. But – alas – I am not perfect for Amtrak, and that’s okay. Applying isn’t about being a perfect writer for everyone. Being a writer isn’t about being perfect at all. It’s about loving all the adventures that open up to you. I can always apply next year, apply to other programs, and travel on my own. A rejection doesn’t stop me. Only I stop myself. It’s safe to say that I’m not stopping anytime soon. Or ever. (Probably never. Scratch that. I’m never going to give up. Ever.)

A radio show contacted me for an interview in July

Literally – two hours passed from receiving my Amtrak rejection to receiving the most delightful call of my week. A popular author radio show contacted me, and they want to interview me. Can you say, “EEEEEEEE!”? I know. I actually had to hold back from screaming out in delight over the phone. We’re already working out the details, and they’re recording the show in July, but that’s all I can say for now. (More news to come soon!) But this is another instance of how important it is to remain positive. After all, you can’t be crying to your cat about your rejection when a radio host calls you with an offer. That would be awkward.

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

In the end:

As you can see – negative things can happen, but positive ones can follow them within minutes, and it’s important to stay positive so you can receive that positive energy. (Did that sound hippy enough for you? If not, picture me throwing up a peace sign. I also have a flower in my hair. It is pink.)

It may have been a strangely bizarre and eventful week. I practically got whiplash. But it was an important week, and it was a great week, and I am going to continue to have great weeks as long as I focus on the positive directions that open up to me.

To all authors and aspiring authors, enjoy this ride. It’s sure to be a wild one full of adventures you might never see coming.

~SAT

The Top 10 Seriously Awkward Conversations I’ve Had When People Hear I’m a Writer

5 Jun

Two announcements before I share my awkward conversations:

The book trailer for Seconds Before Sunrise released. Check it out on YouTube by clicking here. Remember: the eBook releases June 12th! AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is throwing a VIRTUAL launch party on June 12th from 7 – 9 p.m. (CDT) to celebrate, and you can win a Kindle as well as many other prizes. You can also interview me live 😀 Click here to join.

Also, you’ll notice that my progress bar has been updated on the right side of my website. The black marks on the “Death Before Daylight” bar represents 10,000 word marks. We’re officially past the first 10,000 words! And we continue into the future with high hopes.

Being an author can be a crazy, fun, and maddening adventure. As Robert De Niro once said:

robert-de-niro-oscars-2104-quote-about-writers

From lorelle.wordpress.com

That’s what I was thinking about the other day when I fell into conversation with someone about my writing career. They asked something I haven’t been asked before, “What are the strangest questions you’ve been asked during interviews?” I had to think for a bit because I haven’t really been asked strange or awkward questions in interviews. (I think this is because interviewers are prepared to ask an author questions.) But I have been asked strange, downright bizarre questions – mainly by strangers in passing who find out I’m a writer, and I thought it would be fun to share some of my moments today.

Disclaimer: in the defense of the interrogators, I rejoice in awkward moments. I’ve enjoyed every little second of these conversations – even when they didn’t. Let’s start with the obvious one first:

1. “You’re a writer?”

“Yep.”

“Cool.” Unnecessarily long pause as the speaker (normally) glances up at the ceiling for no particular reason. “So what do you do all day?”

…I write.

2. “Do you write those dirty books?”

There’s nothing quite as dirty as being asked if you write “those dirty books.” What an unsexy synonym for erotica. Even worse is what people say after you reply no. I did not need to know how your sister, mother, and aunt read Fifty Shades of Grey during Christmas dinner. And I definitely didn’t need to know that you let your current girlfriend borrow your mother’s copy. Without your mother’s permission. Stop your anecdote now. Please. Before you say the word “dirty” again.

 3. “Did you write Twilight?”

“Is that a real question?”

“Oh….uh, I guess not.” (Another long pause that causes me to wonder why everyone pause so much) “Do you write books like Twilight? Like with sparkly vampires and shit?”

“I write in the same genre, but no vampires.”

“Wait. There’s an entire section for that?”

“Genre, yes. There is.”

“Is it titled Vampire Fiction?”

“No.” This is when I start questioning whether or not I already mentioned that I don’t write about vampires and why everyone brings up Twilight every day when they supposedly hate it.

4. But why would a twenty-year-old want to write about teens?

Because high school was the best time of my life.

(It was unbelievably painful to write that sentence down.)

I don’t know why a twenty-some-year-old enjoys writing about young adults. Why would a sixty-five-year-old want to write about dragons and direwolves? Because I like to. And my characters’ ages don’t define them or their readers. Hence why Harry Potter was read by pretty much everyone and their cousin.

5. Can you put me in your book?

Sure. But you might not like it. (You probably won’t like it. You’ll also wind up dead.)

6. Did you base that character off of me?

Normally, this is asked by friend or some other kind of close relative that shares the love of reading with you. Depending on the character in question, you might be tempted to say yes, even if it isn’t true. Your lover might even ask if you based the protagonist’s love interest on them. This could be a trap. This is probably a trap.

7. Why are you pro/con (insert controversial political or religious topic here)?

I’m sorry – what? Just because my character carries a gun on his right hip or gets an abortion or believes God isn’t real, doesn’t mean that I do these things, let alone believe in them. In fact, I don’t have a lot in common with many of my characters.

Exhibit A (The Timely Death Trilogy): Eric is a boy. I am not. Jessica can paint. I cannot. Pierce is funny. I am not.

Exhibit B (November Snow): Calhoun lost his arm in a POW accident. I did, too. Wait. No. No, I didn’t.

Forget about exhibit B.

8. Who’s the bad guy? Also known as, please tell me the biggest spoiler in your story before the story is even close to released.

Sure. But make sure your cell phone is ready. I want to make sure you Tweet about it before you post it on your Facebook wall and share your screenshot to your Instagram. #spoiler #Iknowtheauthor #forreals

9. Can you publish my book?

“It isn’t written yet, and I have no idea who the main character is, but there’s a girl in it, and she falls in love with a boy, but he doesn’t like her back, and then she finds another boy, and the boy (the first boy) comes back and realizes he loves her, and he confesses to her, and she leaves the boy (the second boy) to be with the first boy only for the first boy to change her mind before she goes back to the second guy and the first guy regrets it forever until they meet up again in the future and she’s still with the second guy but the second guy isn’t really interested anymore so she wants to start over with the first guy and he wants to try to but he feels too guilty about the second guy still being there so the girl starts to think that she should leave the second guy first before she gets with the first guy but she’s also afraid she will lose her last chance if she does, so—“

Email me. Please. Seriously. I actually like to help writers. But…standing by my table in a coffee shop as I finish up my editing is not the way to go about it. I’m a chatterbox. I am. But the one time I don’t talk is when I’m writing. I’m sorry, but I can’t just help the second you appear. I’m not the fairy godmother of publishing. I wish I was. If I was – trust me – more of my novels would be out. Your novels would be out, too. But – alas – the fairy godmother of publishing was not my destiny. However, I do like to help when I am available, so feel free to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I will help you as much as I can.

10. Is your protagonist a brunette because you’re a brunette?

You caught me. That’s why my female protagonist in November Snow was blond. I used to be blond, and there’s nothing like having the same hair color that screams, “Team work!”

…Oh, wait. I wasn’t blond? Really? Not even once?

Hmm, I have to reevaluate.

Those are the top 10 awkward (interesting?) questions I’ve been asked. They may not be completely awkward, but I did find myself enjoying every moment of them. If you’ve ever been asked questions you never expected to hear, share them below!

~SAT

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