The Myth of Magic
I’m not going to lie; being an author is a pretty cool gig. I get to sit around in my athletic attire all day in only the company of my golden retrievers, secluded from the rest of the world as I tell stories. Sure there are those days when I have an interview or meeting and I actually need to look presentable and socialize. That’s not a bad career, right? But there is a misbelief attached to being an author. I called it the myth of magic.
I have come to find that some people think that authoring a book is a magical experience, as if a muse visits you one day, you furiously type away, hoping to get the final period in place before an agent and publisher come knocking at your door with a six-figure contract in hand. Okay, that’s a pretty simplified version of how some observers believe it happens. But sometimes that feels close to people’s expectations.
Here’s what I fell the myth of magic overlooks: the work involved. Writing a novel can be exhausting. Time consuming. All encompassing. Self-doubt inducing. Never guaranteed.
I started work on The Last Carolina Girl sometime in 2017. I wrote multiple drafts (too many to count), put in hours of research (way more than I could calculate), listened to the feedback of early readers (about 10), queried lots of agents (56, to be exact) before landing a book deal.
And then it took nearly two more years for the book to come to market.
Like any job, it has required a constant grind of putting one foot in front of the other day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Did I mention the two practice novels I wrote that will never see the light of day?
But, just last week, The Last Carolina Girl released into the world. Now I’m receiving beautiful messages, sweet reviews, and gorgeous pictures of my book in the hands of others. It’s a surreal moment. But quite nice.
So, while dreams do come true, they also require persistence, perseverance, and active participation. I think that last one is what is missing from the myth of magic. There is nothing passive about becoming an author. There is no wand to wave or fairy godmother granting best-seller status. Like any job, it requires sitting down and getting to work, typing one word after another, if for no other reason than personal satisfaction and the love of storytelling.
I have great news: my historical fiction novel is available now! Don’t miss news about THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL…or my second novel coming Spring 2024. Subscribe to Read. Write. Ruminate. A newsletter with three thoughts. You’ll receive periodical updates, sneak peeks, giveaways & behind-the-scene stories of my journey to becoming a debut author.