Recently I attended a small conference and pitched my latest novel—the third I’ve written—to an editor from a large New York City publishing house. I told her I felt like a pitching slut because my Carina and Ellora’s Cave editors were also there, taking pitches. She asked me what I wrote for them and, when I told her, said that I must be one of those really prolific authors, with several series going.
That really took me aback. I thought of all those years that I hadn’t written as much as I could. And then the years that I didn’t sell what I wrote.
Now I just sent a follow-up to Sapphire, I’m writing a follow-up to Feeding the Vampire and, once that’s done, I’ll start Book 2 in A Covenant of Thorns. That last might not take too long, because of all the sections I stripped out of Book 1, Rogue’s Pawn, over the years.
It’s amazing to look back over these last 16 years, encapsulated here in this week’s worth of posts. I’m still not a full-time writer, but my path has moved steadily in that direction. More, writing has nurtured me in the way I truly needed, giving me what I realized I lacked that day I ran out of the Neuroscience Convention in tears.
You’ll hear it over and over again, that the secret to being a writer is perseverance.
You must persevere to learn the craft—and then perhaps to learn it all over again. Rejections rain down and the blossoms following them are few and far between. It takes years and years to succeed. Even those who are “overnight successes” only seem that way because we didn’t see all those days and months and years they spent alone with the words on the page.
It also never ends, the striving. Always there’s another story to write, another pitch to make, another book to promote. As a writer, you never “get the job.” With every story, you’re applying, again and again, to have the career you want.
I think back to that day, long ago, when I asked myself what the perfect life would be and the answer came: to be a writer.
I had no idea then what all that would entail. I didn’t know how long it would take, how difficult it would be, the setbacks I would face. It’s not an easy path. Not a simple life.
But you know what? It is totally perfect.
Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves. Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, will be published in July, 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.