Misty Massey: Diving Back In

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Well, hey y’all!  It’s been a while, and I’m tickled to be posting today.

There are a lot of things no one tells you when you finally sell a book.  They don’t tell you how long it will take for checks to come in.  It takes a long, long time – it’s usually one check on contract signing, one check on manuscript delivery and the last one on release.  That wonderful dollar amount you saw on the initial offer looks a little depressing when it’s broken into chunks over the course of months.   They don’t tell you that you might have to completely rewrite your book once the editor has gotten a nice, close look at it.  It’s called an editorial letter, but it’s really a long, sad list of all the things you didn’t know the editor didn’t like.  They don’t tell you that you’ll have to handle your own promotional events, and that going to conventions is really, really expensive unless you’re George R R Martin or Neil Gaiman.  Those guys get everything comped – the rest of us are scrambling to make hotel reservations like everyone else.

And they don’t tell you that you might shut down.

After Mad Kestrel sold to Tor, I was beside myself with glee.  I was an author!  I was going to see my name on a book cover in stores!   I knew good and well that I needed to be in my chair working on the next book, but I was somewhat overwhelmed by it all, and let a few weeks go by.  Suddenly my release day was looming.  Who can write when that’s happening?  I did book signings and cons and interviews and blog appearances and it was wonderful.  I was so very busy that I didn’t write a word.

Before I knew what was happening, months had gone by, and I’d written nothing.  Well, not exactly nothing – I wrote a couple of short stories for a couple of anthologies, stories I was very proud of, but those don’t bring in the same kind of money, and they certainly don’t support a novel-writing career.  A year went by, then two, and I still had only part of a book finished.  My momentum was gone, and getting back into the world was harder and harder.  At last I finished, and sent the second book off to my agent.  But my publisher felt it wasn’t ready, and sent it back to me.  I should have thrown myself into the work of rewriting, but instead I fell into a fairly deep depression, one that I was able to mask in front of most people.  I laughed and told people I was still working, but inside I died a little every time someone asked about my next book.

Eventually I decided to go back to the beginning.  I’d started writing with short stories, so I would try writing stories and see where it led me.  I outlined two stories and started working.  Slowly, the flow kestrelsvoyages3returned.  With every page I finished, I felt a little better.  I told people what I was doing, and they reacted with enthusiasm.  I found that place again, the place you go when you write, where the ideas live and grow.  And in July of this year, I released Kestrel’s Voyages, a book of four short stories featuring that fabulous pirate captain who sails the seas whistling at the wind.  I’m proud of it, and I hope readers will enjoy it, too.

Since I finished that book, I’ve been able to sit down and work almost every day.  Sometimes I end the night with thousands of words on paper, and sometimes only hundreds, but at least I’m producing words.  The ideas are bouncing around in my head the way they used to.  I’m feeling the way I used to feel, as if I can do anything with the power of my imagination.  I’m not kidding myself – I know I can’t guarantee I won’t fall down again.  But I’ve learned a lesson, and I hope it sticks.  Because writing feels so much better than not writing.

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8 comments to Misty Massey: Diving Back In

  • Thank you for sharing that, Misty. I can totally understand that feeling. I know it’s not exactly the same, but after I finished the novel I’m seeking representation for, I couldn’t settle down and focus on the second story, even though I knew it needed to be done. But even then, it took me awhile to focus. Thankfully, my critique partner kicked my butt and helped me get back to work. I won’t say I’m entirely back on track, as I devote some time to querying, but I’m getting there. Happy writing, and best of luck!

  • Congrats on getting back into the flow! Very happy to hear good news from you.

  • Yay for getting back into the flow of things! I’m loved what you’ve written lately and am looking forward to more!

  • Thanks, y’all! I’m very excited, too. The other night I couldn’t sleep, so I stayed up past 3 am putting finishing touches on a short story, then submitted it to a potential market right away. It’s been ages since I’ve felt confident enough to do that!

    Although I wonder if the editor looked at the email submission and said, “3 am? What on earth!” 😀

  • Thank you for this inspiration and congratulations. That’s wonderful.

  • Razziecat

    “Because writing feels so much better than not writing.”

    Oh, this, this, a thousand times this! 😀

    Tell ya something else, Misty. When I’d finished reading Mad Kestrel, I went right to Amazon, searched, and thought, “There isn’t another one?” 🙁 So you bet I’m going back there soon to find Kestrel’s Voyages!

  • quillet

    Oh, Misty, I’ve been that blocked. I had totally different reasons, but I know that dying-inside feeling. It is directly proportionate to (and the evil twin of?) the joy you feel when the writing is going well.

    I can’t remember if I ever told you this, but yours was the name that brought me to Magical Words in the first place. I saw the name Misty Massey, and I thought, Hey, didn’t she write that pirate book? (Yay, pirates!) So I came, and I found more authors to love. 🙂 Not to mention this awesome community of writers. 😀

    And on a different but related note… There’s a new Kestrel book? How did I not know this??? SQUEEEEE! *goes off to buy*

  • Oh my goodness, Quillet – thank you!