Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Novel Truth

I pride myself on my ability to write on short deadlines. I’m kind of the go-to gal (ugh, is that politically incorrect and self-sexist or what?) when it comes to my editors being able to count on a freelancer to quickly turn around an assignment.

I feel good about that, gal or woman or writer or papa* or whatever I am.

(*My two-year-old grandson calls me papa, which I’ve mentioned here before, and which my friend Tracie finds hilarious. She’s hoping he never outgrows it, so that when he’s 16 and six feet tall, he’ll say, in his very deep voice, “Papa Wendy, will you take me out to practice driving?”)

But, see, I know I’m getting paid for it. My writing. Not my being a grandma, although payment for that is immeasurable.

This gal loves herself some paychecks. Which makes it easy—or, rather, easier—to write on short deadline. I’m motivated by stuff like, say, hunger.

That’s why it’s been hard to write on spec. My current projects, which I enjoy working on in terms of creativity, are my nonfiction book, A Discouraging Word, and my screenplay version of I Murdered the PTA. I haven’t as yet started on a third novel in my series of Daphne Lee-Lee Misadventures, because—well—because I’m not making enough money being a novelist.

Right. There it is.

And before you say maybe I’m not doing enough promotion—which I was told by an attendee—causing my jaw to hit my boots—at a recent expo, which cost me (for a booth and other expenses) the equivalent of three weeks worth of paid freelance gigs—lemme tell you, bud, I busted my arse promoting that suckah. "Arse" meaning tuchus and "suckah" meaning my novel(s).

I did do a lot of promotion. I swear. Social media, book signings, creative marketing, blah etc. blah. What else was I supposed to do? Commit a felony?

This is precisely why people like me hate—I mean dislike intensely (my husband tells me how much I shouldn’t hate; he’s a sweet guy)—people like the Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight chicks. It’s a jealousy thing. They’ve won the writing lottery. How come we (meaning I and my fellow tuchus-busters) don’t win the lottery?

I’ll tell you why. Because it’s a lottery. Winning ticket. Right place. Right time. Right spot in the slush pile. Right editor. Stars in alignment and all that crap.

So, see, I’m just going to have to put paid freelance work ahead of all my spec projects. And my grandson ahead of everything. Priorities, you know?


  1. I think any art is the same. Right place, right time, a whole lot of luck. Of course it has to be genius so...
    You just need to keep buying those tickets. you're on top of everything else but the luck.

  2. Thank you. I appreciate that more than you know.

    I sometimes think that perhaps it is because I am lucky in so many other aspects of life that my luck has a limit. If that's the case, then at least I'll have won a different kind of lottery.