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Friday, October 12, 2012

"Totally Awesome Dinosaurs"--my new children's book, and the problems with Made It Moments

 Totally Awesome Dinosaurs 

This is my children's book/easy reader that just came out for the iPad. Cheesy title aside (publisher's idea, not mine), kids will like this; it's easy to read, and the illustrator is pretty dang fabulous, as you can see. It's drowning in awesome dino-facts. You can download the free trial through iTunes!

I also got a partial request during the http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com on my story about the superhero who shoots his author. (Super conference--do check it out) This is killing me; it's a request from a really, really well-established agent who I'd never have the guts to cold-query. I also got a full over at Brenda Lee Drake's for a novella about a man whose heart-beat may kill him. I'm floored, and I should be. But I'm also feeling really, really, REALLY mixed. Frustrated, even.

Why? Because I'm not there yet. No matter how close I get with my novel--even if I drown in partials and fulls--I cannot say "yes" when my coworkers ask, "Are you published?" "Can I get your book in bookstores?" No, you can't. Maybe in a year or two. Or ten.

That's why I'd actually forgotten about this kid's book. I wrote it months ago, sold all the rights to a non-traditional publisher for next to nothing, deposited the check, and moved on. I found the listing because someone googled me (looking for my wedding website!) and noticed that I'm 'an author.' "I'm an author?" I feel like I have to get a novel published before I'm an author. Otherwise I'm just a freelancer, a writer, and a ghost-blogger. Right? 

Right, but part of me demands that I pause my trek up the mountainside and gaze with gratefulness at the winding road behind me. "Let me feel this happiness! It's okay, and worth the disappointment later!" A few years ago I could have sent out a hundred queries and never gotten a single reply--and that happens to a lot of people. Now here I am. Yet there's an old fable where the rabbit and the frog compete to jump across a ditch, and the rabbit stumbles, tumbling right next to the starting edge, and the frog lands one foot on the other side--but crashes in the ditch, too. They ask who won: the fox, judging the competition, says,"Both in the ditch. Can't say which."

In C.S. Lewis' Screwtape letters the devil hopes to convince his victim that, "he's arrived." I'm not arrived. I know that. I'm struggling a bit trying to manage my feelings--I don't want my hopes up too high, because I'll need to keep pushing if I crash and burn. I'm a woman in labor, and I can't just stop half-way. I also don't want to ignore where I've come from--"I'm a failure because I'm not there yet." That would kill me. I'm a child who needs happy thoughts to fly.

So I don't think about it too much. How do you deal with your 'made-it moments'? Those times when you've hit a major milestone, but have so far to go, does your happiness overwhelm you? Does the mountain ahead make the milestone joyless? How do you find the balance? Do you need to? I'm okay with these highs and lows, but sometimes they ride me into the pavement. Share your suffering and joys with me!

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