Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Many Road, One Destination

Those of you who have been reading my blog the past few months know I've been doing numerous road trips with my daughter on college visits. We spend Monday and Tuesday in Boston, visiting Boston University.  Great school and one of my daughter's top choices if we can work out the money.  But this post isn't about colleges.

Driving the six and a half hours to our appointment, we ploughed and floated our way through driving rain and stop and go traffic.  I found the interstates from eastern New York State to Boston to be pretty much a road through one big metropolis.  Cities just kind of overlapped.  It was some tense driving in the early morning hours.  Then we get to Boston and, well, doesn't that city believe in street signs. I'm not sure if they were missing or just not there.  Thank goodness for the borrowed GPS or we would never have found the admissions office.  And parking? I don't really care for cities. Traffic. Noise. So many people! On the up side, lots of Starbucks and other coffee bars.

Then the drive home after a good night's sleep in a great hotel.  Doesn't any one work during the day? I swear the entire population of Connecticut and Massachusetts was on the road with us.  Stop and go. Frustrating.  Then we stopped for gas and asked the GPS to take us home from the gas station.  It took us over the scenic mountains and through small towns with strange names.  We saw numerous lakes in New York, farms and crossed a really cool bridge over the Hudson.  Eventually we returned to an interstate but our moods stayed high after our wonderful trek off the beaten path.

I couldn't help but thing of the many different paths writers take toward publication.  Some authors land contracts with big traditional publishers and suffer all the highs and lows of that.  Some find homes for their work with smaller publishers and though they may not make the big money with an advance, they have a chance at decent royalties and may enjoy a more intimate relationship with their publisher.  And more and more authors are taking the third path and publishing their books themselves.  Success for them varies from amazing to not so great. 

But the journey to publication is part of the adventure.  Hopefully you're traveling a path that isn't as stressful and frustrating as the interstate I was driving on yesterday.  My route over the Bear Mountain Expressway provided me with many sights and memories I'll hang onto for a while.  It was relaxing while still getting me where I needed to go. Sometimes deadlines, promotional responsibilities and the need to constantly network can leach away the joy of writing.  Find the right path and have a fun trip on your way to publication.

Are you happy with the path you're taking in your writing career? Have you ever taken a turn you wish you hadn't or that turned out to be exactly correct?


  1. Sounds like a not so fun drive, but what a wonderful time for you and your daughter!

    Going to visit colleges is one of those memories that I cherish. My father and I drove from Colorado across the midwest and visited countless Big Ten schools since I wanted to go to one of the monsters. Dad was excited for me and asked thoughtful questions I never would never have asked and treated me like the adult I was becoming--he made me do most of the driving and plan the route and schedule the appointments. And I loved all of it.

    In comparison, my path to writing feels meandering. But that's okay. I feel like I've recently made a kind of break-though with my fourth novel, and I'm now ready to really push toward publication--which is exciting and scary and all those same things I felt visiting those colleges.

  2. There are days when I think I'd rather do almost anything other than writing.

    It's not the writing part that bugs me, but all the hoops and obstacles involved in getting published.

    Then I get a royalty check and I forget what I was whining about.

  3. I hate stop and go traffic.
    I'm happy with my choice. Just a little stressed with the idea of writing a third book.

  4. My only regret is that I didn't start pursuing writing at an earlier age. I didn't know I was officially a writer until a couple years ago. :)

  5. I regret that also, Laila.
    You wrote your second book so quickly, Alex, I'm sure that third one will spill right out.
    We have had fun, Heidi. I enjoyed the same thing with my sons but we didn't do as many overnight trips.
    I agree totally about the hoops, Maria.

  6. I regret letting myself get sidetracked so many times in life and pushing my writing to the back burner. Hopefully, I'll stay on track this time.

    And I always think of driving in Boston as an adventure. There's really no place quite like it.

  7. Luckily, my writing career hasn't kicked off at all yet (mainly due to the fact that I have yet to really start a first draft :P) but I more than likely won't go down the self publishing route. I've seen a lot of bad quality stories that could have been great had they been polished via the traditional route.

  8. What a great journey for you and your daughter to share. The roads off the beaten path are often the most interesting.
    I try to think that way about writing. :) Though sometimes I wish the path weren't so circuitous lol
    I also wish I hadn't put off writing until my kids grew, but forced myself to make time instead. We have too little time as it is.

  9. I make a mention of Boston College in mt book Breakthrough. The mother of the antagonist has a degree from there.

    One of the reasons I chose Boston for one of my settings is that it boasts three major learning universities: Harvard, M.I.T., and the Golden Eagles of Boston College!

  10. Great post.
    I wish I had started earlier - and I keep having that fearful thought.... what if I never get published... trying to squash it completely.