So as many of you already know, I’ve been working at making a career as a writer for quite some time now.
To recap for anyone joining, I started writing my first book while pregnant with my daughter–she’s 16 now.
There have been many ups and downs over the years, but between switching markets a few years ago, signing with my agent, and then landing a two book contract with Sourcebooks, there was a part of me that actually believed the most challenging parts of my journey were behind me.
Over the summer, my editor emailed to tell me she was leaving my publisher. She had other opportunities she was exploring.
She went on to reassure me that I and my book were being left in more than capable hands and that she looked forward to watching my book’s entrance into the world next year and would continue to cheer me on–albeit from the sidelines now.
I told her how much I would miss her, how grateful I was to have had the opportunity to work with her, and how very happy I was for her to be starting a new chapter in her life.
And I was happy for her, truly–and also completely terrified for myself.
What did it mean that the person who acquired my book, the one who loved and championed it within the publisher was now leaving eleven months before my first book would publish?
I didn’t know.
So I Googled and found that I wasn’t the only writer to ever find herself in this exact circumstance. Apparently there is a term for books that are left mid-cycle:
And readers, I don’t mind telling you, I hadn’t cried up until reading that word, but “orphaned” hit my emotional nail square on the head.
So I spent the next several days worrying and feeling very sorry for myself. I may have also asked the writing gods, more than once, “Why…why me??!”
But once the storm passed and I moved into whatever stage of grief acceptance is, I realized a few things. First off, my editor was right; she was leaving my book in more than capable hands. Secondly (and this one took me a little longer) no one is more in charge of my career than I am.
Meaning what, exactly?
Meaning that I have a great agent, I had a wonderful editor, and I now have a new wonderful editor–but the through line that connects every aspect of my writing career HAS to be me. Regardless of change, hirings, leavings, markets, great luck, terrible catastrophe, highs, lows, and smooth sailing–I am the only aspect of this career over which I really have any control.
And that was ALWAYS the case.
So, I dried my eyes, took stock of all the writerly blessings still before me, and got back on with getting on.
I realize this certainly isn’t the last time a storm is going to blow through around here…so I better figure out how to best keep those winds at my back.