What I Wish I Knew Five Years Ago

My husband and I were on a walk a few weeks back and I was trying to ask him how the first few days of 2013 were treating him. Instead I asked him how 2007 was treating him. And then we started on a very long riff about everything we would do in 2007 based on our knowledge now, six years later. It was funny, but it got me thinking… what do I wish I’d known five years ago? Well, here’s what I came up with:

1. It will be harder than you think. Five years ago I was in let’s just say a very different place in my career. I think I still had the naivity that if I worked really hard and wrote good books, I’d get where I wanted to be. If I’d been a little thicker skinned, perhaps all the things that would happen between then and now would have hurt less. Also, I would left bad situations sooner, not believing they would ‘get better’. When someone is ripping you apart, it’s not going to get better.

2. It will be better than you think. In 2007, I’d had just a few books published and now I have 37 either published or contracted this year (about to be 38, probably before this thing publishes on my blog). I wish I’d known how great things could be. Reader interactions, meeting other writers, seeing my books on shelves. Even the bad things, the things that were harder, led to good things. I don’t think I could have forseen that when I was such a baby author.

3. You will cry a lot, for good and for bad. Once again, my naivity really smacked me sometimes. I was (and sometimes still am) forever shocked when things don’t go right. And yeah, I totally cry. But I’ve also cried over new contracts, HUGE contracts, pretty covers and wonderful fan letters. So it balances out.

4. You will try things you never thought possible. If you had told me in 2007 that I would write humorous urban fantasy, have a serial killer book in my back pocket and that I would become a bestseller based on erotic romance, I would have said… “What now?” But all these things are true. Doors opened, windows opened and I decided to fly when I had the choices.

5. You should not make your career your world. This is one I’m still working on and if I’m still writing in five more years, will probably STILL be working on. It’s too easy for me, writing full-time and without kids, to wrap everything I am and want to be into how a book performs. And it only leads to heartache. So recently I’ve stepped out. I am Even Chair for Oro Valley Relay For Life. I spend as much time as I can with my nephews. I try to walk 10,000 steps every day. I’m in a bookclub. I have a Girls Group. All these things remind me that I’m a wife, an aunt, a daughter, a sister and a friend first. I’m a writer after everything else.

Of course, the truth is, had I known all these things five years ago, I might not be where I am now. That’s the trick about time. You never know when you’re going to look back and say, “Ohhhh, THAT’S where X came from.”

So here’s to not knowing what I want to know in five years. And to being a little wiser for everything that happened in the last five.

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