It’s never too early to plan your direction

In September of this year, I signed an agent. I’m giddy. This is a major milestone in my career, the goal I set for myself in February 2016, and I did it in seven months. I celebrated. I have a beautiful fountain pen as a congratulatory gift from friends. I watched all my plans for the last quarter of 2016 get upended and now I am on a different path.

I feel trepidation, because I don’t know where I’m going. I mean there I was, hoping for an agent (and putting in the work to get one) and dreaming about getting a deal on my fantasy novel, WITCHMARK. I worked hard on that story, revising it and revising it again during FicFest with Michelle Hazen. I had sent it out to agents, and I was just at the point where there was nothing left to do but wait.

But while I was waiting for that to come back, I wrote IRL. It’s a contemporary romance about a game designer and an actor cast as the character she’s designing. I don’t think I could have written something more opposite day if I *tried.* And now I don’t know what I’m gonna do with this book, or where it belongs .

I wasn’t thinking about my career direction. I was going in all directions, free to pursue this or that, like the college student enrolled in general studies to discover what ignites her interest. But getting an agent has brought me back down to earth. The game has changed, and I’m now wondering, “Where do I want to go from here?”

So many questions, so many decisions. I’m thinking about what I want to write, what sort of deadline schedule I want, where I stand on the continuum of “commercial” and “artistic” and finally, finally I’m starting to understand why thinking about your brand matters. I thought I had time to think about that later.Well, later is here.

One question I’m pondering is, “Whose writing career do you want?” It’s a hard question! Because of course my path is going to be unique to me, and so I don’t really want to copy any one writer’s career exactly. But I am thinking about my influences and how they shaped the way I tell stories – do they have insight on the way I move forward? Writing is a long game and it doesn’t end with this one book. Now I have to write more, and what I write will shape my brand and build my audience.

The only thing I know for sure is future books will have kissing. How could they not?

 

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