Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Publication: A Day At The Beach

How many of you have imagined the stunning view of a crest of waves breaking on shore symbolizing once and for all “you’ve made it”—you’ve been published? Today I’m hoping to provide a realistic view of publication. My books aren’t published yet but I’m confident they will be. And I want to make sure I’m going into this thing with my eyes wide open regardless of how much the ocean slaps my eyes with salt water.

Today we are going to the beach ~

The beauty of being published:

Few sight and sounds compare with the tantalizing melodious rhythm of waves on the beach, of an ocean stretching for miles kissing the sky at the horizon. This is the true reward that comes from a dream turned to reality. Soaking in the fragrant misty air and the soothing view—ah, publication.

What about that giddy floating feeling you get every time you go to the beach? The laughter you hear every time, children building sandcastles and holding conch shells to their ears...this is the equivalent to receiving positive feedback and having notable critiques. Oprah’s book club, anyone?

I love to jump waves, to anticipate them rolling in and over me, then leaping up to smack into them with the force of my body. This is what it feels like when you surprise yourself. When you hold your own book in your hands it must feel similar to leaping in waves, knowing you pushed yourself to a higher height and took a risk.

I can’t make comparisons about the glory of being published without mentioning the glistening tan the sun blesses you with while you’re at the beach. The Vitamin D benefits and the rosy complexion = writing for the kingdom and seeing fruit once published.

And now…
The sandy truth after publication (the following is what I’ve gleaned from published friends and from having work other than books published)

Here’s where I get really honest with you…who among us has ever gone to the beach and has been able to resist comparing your body to the other sunbathers? Comparing can be such a weakness, but we all do it and even after publication you will face temptation to compare. That temptation doesn’t just disappear. Fight that “the sun is always shinier on the other side” mentality.

How about when you get home and change out of your clothes—just how much sand has found its way into your swimsuit and uncomfortably settled? Once you’re published critique of your work doesn’t go away, it actually increases exponentially. While some reviews will be fair and reasonable, there will always people be out there that get a sick thrill from tearing others down. Those critiques = sand in the swimsuit.

There you are running along the beach performing your glory run (Bo Derek style—I’m really too young to know what I’m talking about here w/ the whole Bo Derek thing but it seemed like the right place to put this). Anyway, you’re running, you’re dancing and celebrating your publication victory and yowzer! You get stung by a jellyfish. Getting stung by a jellyfish = losing your focus by getting caught up in the marketing, the revelry and anything else that sidetracks you from writing.

Finally, it’s blistering. It hurts. It peels and you can’t even touch parts of your body to slather the aloe on. You got burned. Your ego blew up. You poured your worth into publication and it’s as obvious to you as a splotchy pink and red burn covering your body. Sunburn = bloated ego.

What about you—are your eyes wide open about publication? Are you holding so tightly to the dream that you’ve forgotten the owner of all dreams?

My words of wisdom: Have a dream, work with tenacity toward the dream but don’t lose sight of who owns the dream and who has all potential to guide the dream.

If you want more words of wisdom: King Solomon had much to say on this topic.

See what I have to say about shaking the dust (not sand) off at Exemplify Online today.

*photos by flickr


  1. What an excellent analogy. After I wrote my first book, I knew nothing about the publishing industry and I was the epitome of naive. Ah...how fun those days were. Nothing but sunshine and daisies. I know better now. I know being on the other side of publication brings on a whole new set of challenges and hurdles. I still want to be on that side though. :)

  2. Great analogy. But even so, sand and sunburn and all, I'll still go for the day at the beach!

  3. Great post!! I'm just in the early stages of my publication process....but I'm prepared for the sand. I live in the real world and while I will celebrate, I also know I need to keep my head where it belongs!

  4. Perfect post, Wendy! I was just thinking this morning, do I really really want to get published right now? Or ever? It sounds like such a huge headache sometimes. And stressful. Gone would be the days of taking my sweet time and delving into my story at the pace I like. It's certainly something to consider when we're racing for that finish line to the beach...

    For now I'll enjoy where I'm at. :D

  5. Wendy! I just put down the local paper that arrived in the mail, so surprised to see a familiar face in a great article! I'm on my way out right now, but will drop you an email later.

  6. All of your analogy is so true, Wendy! The part about the beach I dislike the most is going home and everyone having to take showers, and giving baths to little ones. It's a collosal affair of sand, wet swim suits and towels, and puddles everywhere--in other words a lot more work for Momma and Daddy when everyone is tired. After the fun day is that cranky time of cleaning up! And I suppose it's that way with our writing too. It takes a lot out of us and there's always all the OTHER work waiting when we're done with the writing.

  7. Wendy, I'm forever fighting the green eyed-- the grass is always greener syndrome. But man does it feel good when I catch myself right away and smartin myself up right away too.

    You're so right, I've heard it a zillion times that the critics only get worse once published. So, I'm just writing for Him!

  8. What a terrific post! I came to the realization last year that I won't be any happier when I'm published than I am today. I might feel accomplishment, and even a sense of fulfillment, when I do get published, but each day has joy of its own. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Great job here showing the process with good cautions. I know that for a minute when I get the call, I'll be elated and then life goes one:)

  10. Thanks for the post, Wendy! So much lately I feel as though I need to be grounded. Need to be reminded who is guiding my way in this journey. I'm loving it, I can't wait to see my manuscript in book form but I know from there I'm going to have to keep reminding myself not to rely on what I think is right, but where God is leading me.

  11. So very true!! Although, I just gotta say, I think most if not all of those published authors would look back on their lives "pre" published and think, "Wow, I'm glad I'm here and not there..." LOL. It's like having kids. I LOVE my kids but seriously... there are days I want to pull my hair out. But I look at my "pre" kid life (short as it was) and my current "parent" life... and I'm still very thankful for my kids! I wouldn't trade it for anything! And that's sayin something for the girl who had her first daughter at age 19!

  12. You are made of awesome! It's important to remember that once your book has been accepted by a publisher is when the really hard work begins. Some of it involves editing, but even harder is smiling and being pleasant even when others are not. I think it's important to be the best person we can be as often as possible, regardless of what may be going on in the background. Great post!

  13. Katie, and you will be...on that side. I think on any day at any given moment any single one of us could be called naive. Why? B/c there's always more to learn.

    Joanne, I think that's why we are working so hard, eh?

    Stephanie, all I could think of when I read your comment is how it's dangerous to bury people in the sand.

    Lady, I'll be honest as I admit sometimes I like to hoard my writing, to have it just for me..."My Precious..." Seriously though, there is something to bringing our work into the light of day for all to see and I think to do it with integrity we need to do it with our eyes open.

    Joanne, looking forward to your email. I thought Nancy wrote a beautiful article. I was honored.

    Jody, "it takes a lot out of us"--great quote. I know you are right in the heart of this now.

    Eileen, I imagine he smiled reading you are writing for him! I like to "smartin" myself up too and when I'm in no mood to do it, my husband is quick to take care of it. :D

    Jill, I don't it fills anything up in us, but maybe it just splashes some water on our faces and gets us refreshed? Yes?

    Terri, I will celebrate with you. I'm good at it.

    Cindy, can you tell I've been thinking of the same thing quite a bit lately?

    Krista, that *is* sayin something. :D You've sparked an idea...perhaps a poll might be in order? I suspect you're correct about most published authors being thankful to be where they are, but how interesting the stories of those who would rather not be published.

    Danyelle, made of awesome--you are officially taking complimenting to a whole new (and welcome) level! :D The second sentence of your comment reminded me of what I read over at Jody's.

    As always, you all are able to reach me and inspire me! Thanks for coming. Please take a party favor on the way out! Ha. I'm beginning to realize every night around *this* time I get a little loopey from a day of serving children and writing! :D

    ~ Wendy

  14. Cute post Wendy. I think you've drawn some great analogies here. :-) Especially the comparison one. So true!

  15. Great post today, Wendy. Love the beach metaphor. I haven't been published, but as an academic librarian and Christian book reviewer, I've worked with many new authors and see just how much sweat and tears go into their work. Not only do they spend their days and weeks working tediously to write all that's on their heart, but they tirelessly have to promote their work and take the heat. I remember the first time I came across a book I was supposed to review and I just couldn't say anything good about it. I was so very torn because I wanted to be an honest book reviewer for my profession, but I also knew how hard this gal had worked to get her work out there. All this to say that I'm totally rooting for you and know you WILL be published one day. And it's great that you already have such a great analogy to help you navigate those new waters.



  16. Yes, yes, yes, and amen! And did i say YES?

    I love this post, especially about not forgetting the ONE who gave you the dream.
    Thanks for reminding us who it's all about, Wendy.

    I am believing with you for your books to be published. You're a winner!


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