Saturday, October 19, 2013

UPDATE 2013

Maybe blogging is the way forward for now.

For the first time in over 14 years I'm not working on a new book, and for a very mundane reason:

I've got a day job!

This means rising at 5:30 and leaving home at 6:45 for a 40 minute commute to my workplace, a hospital in Schwetzingen, Germany, where I'm a social worker. I really enjoy the work and if I ever need to set a novel in a German hospital, well, I'm getting all the experience and a thousand anecdotes! I intend to stay at that job till I retire in early 2017. It's a good thing.

But three years ago, I'd never have dreamt I'd be here. The two long-term plans furthest from my mind were a) returning to Germany and b) returning to Social Work . Yet here I am, and loving it!

Since I'm an early morning writer, that means no more writing for a while, and somehow that's a good thing too. Those who know me, and have read the now-hidden pages of this blog, know of my struggles for the last nine years or so; I've written one book after the other. I've worn my fingers to the bone writing queries, and I could paper my wall with rejections.

 It hasn't been only rejections; I've had four different agents, three of them with major agencies in Britain and the USA;  one of my books was highly praised by a Bloomsbury editor and another made it to the sales meeting of Ballantine, USA. But still: no sale. Seems I don't write the stuff publishers think will sell, and I'm not the type to write for the market. So, no vampires or werewolves or aliens or erotica or whatever the current trend is from me, and I've reverted the ups-and-downs story of that journey, as recorded in the early years of this blog, to draft.

This was originally a LiveJournal blog with a small following of aspiring writers, but I think it's no longer relevant or wise to keep it up. The past is past; I'm looking forwards now, and though I won't be writing anything new, I do have a writing plan of sorts.

The writing I'll be doing is revision.  I can do that on the weekends and, maybe, even in the evenings; it's just for novels that I need to be up early with a clear head. So, I'll be revising all my published novels, as well as the unpublished ones sleeping in my computer, and it's ready-steady-go for the digital age: they're all going to come out as e-books, all revised and polished and smartened up! The first one, Of Marriageable Age, is almost ready to go; just a few little kinks to sort out, and she'll be out there again. The rest will follow...

For me it's a Brave New World, and I can't wait to enter it!

The wonderful thing is that all the pressure has gone. I don't need the money. I don't need a breakthrough. I don't need success. If one person buys my books or 100, it doesn't matter. I don't need a bestseller. I don't need sales. The books can do what they want: if people enjoy them, so much the better. I've written them and my job is over. I'm no longer starving in a garrett and trying to put two kids through school and adolescence. They've flown the coop and I have my steady income. My (disabled) husband is in good hands, and close by. I'm a normal person again with tax taken off my salary (how wonderful, not having to put it aside!) as well as pension contributions and health insurance and what-not. It's so relaxing to be normal!

And yet, I still march to a different drummer. It's all inside me, and if it's ever going to show, well, it will show in my books and not in my external life.

And maybe in this blog, which is all the creative writing I'll be doing from now on.

And when I retire in 2017: well, I've got two books in a trilogy to write. And then I'll have all the time in the world to do so. 

3 comments:

Renita D'Silva said...

Wow, Sharon, that's quite a journey. Looking forward to reading Of Marriageable Age and all your other books when they come out in e-book form.

Renita D'Silva said...

Wow, Sharon, that's quite a journey. Looking forward to reading 'Of Marriageable Age' and all your other books when they come out in e-book format.

Sharon Maas said...

Hi Renita! So much has changed since that blog post! I had planned on self-publishing, but then I got an offer to e-publish from HarperCollins, and THEN I got an offer to e-publish from Bookouture! The rest is history -- and I know for sure that I made the right choice, nerve-racking as it was to turn down HC!
I've got a new book coming out with B. in October -- to be announced soon. Watch this space! And thanks for commenting.