Last night, I dreamt I was at a children’s writers convention. Much to my surprise, I received an honorable mention for something I penned, and I was invited to join a panel of writers at the front of the room.
I took my seat with the others, but when I opened the manila envelope, I saw that the manuscript which was being honored was not mine. When the speaker reached me, after briefly interviewing all of the authors to my right, I stood up and called out the name of the author/illustrator whose work had been mistakenly filed in the folder with my name on it. He jumped up and ran to the table, a bevy of excitement and joyful noise. I sat back down.
I’m amazed at two things: 1) the degree of complexity of my dreams. I remember the vibrant colors and complex storyline of the picture-book manuscript that was misplaced in my folder, and 2) how quickly my mind works to make sense of the events that happen when I’m awake.
You see, yesterday, I received my first royalties statement. No money yet, but I know how much to expect. Dare I share it with you? Probably not. That would be crass. But let me say I was correct when I joked that I could expect “tens of dollars” from my first novel. Here’s another hint: I make in one hour at my current profession the same amount that Celebration House garnered in two months of sales. Succinctly put: writing is a financial waste of time.
My publisher tells me I need to promote, promote, promote! That’s done by sending emails to bloggers and asking them to review my book and/or feature me. I call it blog begging. And I did that. A lot of that back in August.
My publisher tells me to write a second novel. But I did that. Bone Girl was finished last summer. The problem is, my publisher doesn’t buy children’s fiction. Bone Girl is meant for kids age 8-12.
Yet, here I sit at 6:20 in the morning, writing a blog post. When I’m done with this, I’m going to read over the last scene I was polishing in “A Year with Geno.”
I think, for now, writing must remain a time-consuming hobby. And the idea of writing full-time, supporting my family with my storytelling, well, that’s just a dream.
Hands and arms inside the cart: Next: please meet Elaine Dodge, author of Harcourt’s Mountain.