Just watched the pilot of this new CW show The L.A. Complex, and found that I had a huge affinity for the characters trying to break into the biz (okay, maybe without the glamorous semi-naked pool party part. Being a writer is more about pajamas, not bikinis). I've become addicted to Smash for the same reason. The thing is, being a debut author is a pretty rollercoaster journey. There are moments of amazing highs (the trilogy sold! foreign deals too!) and difficult lows (wait, you mean I have to write another book? and under tight deadlines? and then I have to write it again because it didn't come out good the first time?)
Suffice it to say, when I watch stories about artists struggling to make it, just on the teetering edge of hitting it big time or failing completely, I feel sympathetic. Part of it is, when you get the book deal, you're like a little baby fawn, all excited and stumbling around. You've made it through the rejections, the endless waiting, the shelved novels. And finally, years in the making, a book deal happens. Success!
But what I'm learning a year and a half after the deal, and wish I'd realized from the beginning, is that success is not a one time thing. It's a daily struggle, a life-long struggle really. Look at any actor or actress--there are periods when they seem to be in every other big movie to hit the screen, and then they disappear for five years. Maybe they have a comeback, maybe they don't. The thing about working as an actor or a writer is that you are only as good as your next project. It doesn't matter what you've done in the past. It matters what will next hit the silver screen (or the bookshelf in my case).
Because I want longevity as a writer. I don't want to be a one-hit-wonder. I want this trilogy I'm working on now to be the first in a long career. I see now just how exhausting and exhilarating that might be. It's like any job in some ways--every day you have to wake up and go to work. But before I was going to be published, it was all shrouded in a glittering mystique. Get a book deal and you have MADE IT! Now I see the work involved. The struggle. Most of the time I'm not too daunted by this. I remind myself that I'm lucky to be where I'm at in the publishing game, and I'll fight to stay.