Monday, December 30, 2013

Writing Year Recap

It was a good year. It was a very good year…

  • I sold my novel, Believers, which is slated to come out in spring 2015 from Algonquin Books. (Foreign rights were also sold in Poland and Turkey.)

  • I did the final edits for Believers and worked with my wonderful editor Andra Miller (next up: copy edits).

  • I wrote a new short story, which I sold to Glimmer Train (due out in November 2015).

  • I started on a new novel (20K words and counting; fingers crossed).

  • I attended my first AWP conference.

Rarely do I stop and step back and appreciate what I've accomplished. I'm always on to the next thing, rushing ahead. But I have to say, this feels like a pretty damn good list. If I can lick this cold, I'll have some extra reasons to celebrate tomorrow night.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Embrace Uncertainty

"When writers who are just starting out ask me when it gets easier, my answer is never. It never gets easier. I don’t want to scare them, so I rarely say more than that, but the truth is that, if anything, it gets harder. The writing life isn’t just filled with predictable uncertainties but with the awareness that we are always starting over again. That everything we ever write will be flawed. We may have written one book, or many, but all we know — if we know anything at all — is how to write the book we’re writing. All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try to remember that the job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it. Each time we come to the end of a piece of work, we have failed as we have leapt—spectacularly, brazenly — into the unknown."

-- Dani Shapiro