We discussed how the business surprised us, but did we mention what happened at home? Angie started us off with a great list. I, too, have dirty floors, but I always had dirty floors, so here are my five random things that surprised me after I got my agent and contract and still had my same life.
1) I’m still teaching. Yes, I thought that magically money would fall from the sky and I’d quit my teaching job and write oodles of bestselling novels and never look back. It didn’t happened that way. I did teach half-time this year, but I didn’t like the cut in pay or the nervous feeling I got when the bills continued to roll in. No, bills don’t go half-time unless you spend half-time.
2) Jealousy, Part I. It’s a dirty word and not everyone will admit to feeling it. I admit to feeling jealous about how well other authors have done with their first books and how quickly they pump out their second books. Jealousy can be paralyzing because it can quickly turn into fear, which is more paralyzing and before you know it, you aren’t doing a thing!
3) Jealousy, Part II. The other kind of jealousy is the kind I’d never experienced before. What surprised me when I got my contract was that I seemed to lose friends. Some people became distant without explanation. I tried and tried to fix it, figure it out, felt guilty about it–and then I finally had to let it go. Lesson: You can’t control how people feel about you and your success, you can only control yourself.
4) Balancing the load. People think I do amazingly well being a wife, mother, teacher, and writer. That’s funny to me. It doesn’t usually feel that way. It feels like I have a giant roof over me with 4 or 5 big leaks and 1 pot and I’m running around trying to catch the leaks. Balancing things well would mean that everything gets equal attention, right? Well, actually I believe balancing things well means that the thing that need you the most (the biggest leak) gets the most attention until it doesn’t anymore.
5) Evolution. I thought I knew what kind of writer I was and I would continue on one path. I’m learning that there is always something new to learn or relearn, and I maybe branch out into different genres or audiences and that’s what makes writing exciting to me. I’m not done. I continue to evolve as a writer.