The Writing Life Compared

As Soon as Your Book Is Published (Unpublished Author Edition)

  • Your hair will become fuller, lusher, and shinier.
  • You will only write a thousand words a day to make a million dollars a year.
  • You’ll be a bestselling author, and every book will float to the top of the charts.
  • You will be the most popular author at writers conferences.
  • Aspiring authors will fawn over you, keen for your wisdom.
  • You can spend most of your time traveling for leisure and to conferences.
  • Your patina of literary accomplishment will impress friends, family, and strangers.
  • Your editor will never touch your work because of your brilliance.

As Soon as Your Book Is Published (Published Author Edition)

  • Your hair may be a mess since you have no time to visit the salon.
  • You have to write like a fiend every day to make bank.
  • You find that bestseller lists are mercurial.
  • Conferences engage lots of fashionable authors.
  • Teaching fawning writers is work.
  • You have to schedule business and leisure travel around deadlines.
  • Patina doesn’t pay the electric bill.
  • Your editor may exercise his latitude to request comprehensive rewrites.

14 Responses to The Writing Life Compared

  1. Avatar
    Teresa M. Arsenault January 7, 2021 at 6:01 am #

    Cute. I had such a struggle getting to the stage of publishing my first novel, I think all my dreams of grandeur had faded. Now I’m about to publish my second book, I’ve made pocket change, and I have a tiny following. If I can honour God with my stories, improve my skill with each book, and respect my readers by offering them only quality work, I will be satisfied.

  2. Avatar
    Damon J. Gray January 7, 2021 at 6:40 am #

    I could go for the hair becoming fuller, lusher, and shinier.

    I will NEVER forget the first time I sunburned the top of my head. I didn’t realize it had happened (or even could) and ran a comb through my hair. That was my first truly out-of-body experience. 😯

  3. Avatar
    Debra Wallace January 7, 2021 at 6:47 am #

    True! Welcome to the REAL world! Thank you, Tamela. 💕

  4. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks January 7, 2021 at 6:54 am #

    Ha ha, I love it! Yeah, listening to my friends who have pressing contracts weighing their shoulders is enlightening. Each stage has its own trials and joys. I need to remember to soak up the joys from each one, because the stage I’m dreaming of will come with its very own trouble just as much as the stage I’m dreaming of leaving behind. Appreciate the journey, is not simply a nice saying.

  5. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. January 7, 2021 at 6:58 am #

    Wow, talk about a wake up call! I was assuming that I would have thinner thighs, shiner hair, and no midriff budge, once my books were published and that I would live in the lap of luxury evermore. You mean that it really isn’t like winning the lottery and ending up on My Lottery Dream Home? Oh, well, such is life.

  6. Avatar
    Darlene L. Turner January 7, 2021 at 7:08 am #

    Thanks for my morning laugh. Loved this, Tamela! Sharing…

  7. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser January 7, 2021 at 7:52 am #

    No publishers are courting me,
    my name’s not found on bookstore shelf;
    if I’m to claim some victory
    I must search within myself
    for the slow and humble growth
    that’s dragged from every halting word
    which steps in line to pledge my troth
    in offered service to the Lord.
    I do not ask for fame or glory,
    for mansions vast, resources deep,
    for followers for every story,
    but there is still a dream I keep;
    God, my plea is teeny-weeny,
    just a brand-new Lamborghini.

  8. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver January 7, 2021 at 9:06 am #

    Loved your post this morning, Tamela. To change Mary Poppins’ song a bit from the movie, “A spoonful of humor makes the medicine go down.”

  9. Avatar
    Elena Corey January 7, 2021 at 9:16 am #

    . . .love it. Thank you Tamela for keeping our egos within workable limits.

  10. Avatar
    Sherrinda Ketchersid January 7, 2021 at 10:23 am #

    Bahahaha! This totally made my day! Thank you! Such truth in your post. 🙂

  11. Avatar
    Carol Ashby January 7, 2021 at 3:15 pm #

    If you write 1000 words a day about something a dishonest billionaire doesn’t want the public to know and you get the money for NOT publishing what you write, I guess you could make a million dollars in a year (assuming you’re still alive at year’s end). But somehow that sounds more like an unbelievable plot than real life.

  12. Avatar
    Chet Weld January 7, 2021 at 9:52 pm #

    Funny! It took four years to write and edit (and edit and edit) my first book, which I just completed. Looks like I’ve only just begun!

  13. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson January 10, 2021 at 12:39 pm #

    Haha! I love this, but glad I don’t see myself believing the unpublished descriptives—quite the opposite. I have many friends who are authors, and I hear what goes on behind the scenes. It makes me a little nervous but doesn’t frighten me. I stand ready when the doors open.

  14. Avatar
    Carol R Nicolet Loewen February 19, 2021 at 7:51 pm #

    Funny, Tamela. Good reality check! Thanks.

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