A friend once told me, “Love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
If only it had been true.
A funny thing happened when I put pen to paper, signing my name on that first Harlequin Mill & Boon contract. My writing became more than something just for me. It went from being my passion, my outlet, my sanity and fantasy and too many other things to count, to also being my job. Let me qualify that. My dream job—I get to shred hearts, salvage souls, and detail ripped abs for pages on end...definitely a dream job.
And with it came an unexpected mentality shift, not only for me, but for my family and friends as well. This hobby I’d been indulging in/obsessing over, had become a paying gig. And the demands of a dream (long hours holed up in the office and a near perpetual state of distraction) that previously spurred guilt heavy sighs and irritated eye rolling were suddenly getting all kinds of street credit.
The husband no long groaned in protest every time I tried to sneak off for an illicit rendezvous with my laptop. Now he mostly understood. I had a deadline.
It was awesome.
After years of scrimping for time to write, I finally had a justifiable excuse to say, “Oooh, sorry, baby. I’d love to help you reorganize that attic storage closet, but this deadline… I’m behind on word count.”
And the best part? The excuse was totally legit.
But there’s a flipside to that justifiable excuse. And it sounds something like this… “I’m going to have to bail on Dirty Book Club tonight, I’m just too far behind. I have to write.” Yeah, you read that right. Have to not Get to.
Now don’t misunderstand. I love writing.We’re talking love with the intensity of a self-made billionaire’s penetrating gaze, love.But there are times when I’ve had enough—only I haven’t doneenough. When I’ve spent every night for two weeks locked in my office, struggling to figure out how to fix a conflict issue… and more than anything, I really want to join my husband for a glass of wine on the front porch. But the deadline is in two days. And if I don’t hit it, there’s a ripple effect that goes well beyond me—to my editor, the artists, the other authors, the other lines etc… So rather than take the night off, I write. Again.
And that’s when my dream job feels like work. A different brand of work than what I was accustomed to back when the writing wasn’t yet a job. But the thing of it is. Even when I have to make myself write. I love it. I love the sense of accomplishment when I save my manuscript that last time, changing the file name from “suckprojectfromhell.doc” to something like “HotAffairFullMS.doc”. I can’t wait for the feedback from my editor. Can’t wait to add the new title to my coming soon page. Can’t wait to get my hands on that fresh box of author copies that just takes my breath away. And best of all, can’t wait for that first reader review.
Sure, there’s work. From the rough draft of your first story, through your umpteenth published title, there’s going to be work. That part never really goes away. Some of the hard parts change with where you are along the road to publication, and some of them stay the same. But no matter what the obstacles, roadblocks or challenges, when you love your job, the work is worth it.WILD FLING OR A WEDDING RING? is available now for download from the Mills & Boon site. Look for it in print in the UK May and the US in June. Mira's second book, TABLOID AFFAIR, SECRETLY PREGNANT!, will be out in November 2010.
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Come back next month for FIRST THINGS FIRST as we follow Mira's journey through the first year after The Call!