Yesterday, we talked about regrets.
An uplifting topic, to be sure. Who’s ready for a discussion on funeral planning?
Actually, I’d like to talk about the opposite of regrets – the things you might think I’d regret, but I don’t. I have a lot more things in this column than I’m willing to admit in a public blog that’s read by my mother, but I’ll share my top three writing-related ones:
I don’t regret that I didn’t start writing sooner. I know a lot of yesterday’s commenters stated this was their biggest regret, but it’s not one I share. I took my first stab at writing fiction when I was 28 and sold my first book a little less than three years later (that’s the one where the book deal fell through, for those following along at home). In hindsight, I’m glad that first book never hit shelves because it isn’t what I want out there as my first published work. Between practice and life experience, I’ve become a much better writer now than I was then. Frankly, I shudder to think of the drivel I might have churned out if I’d started writing fiction earlier in life.
I don’t regret not jumping into the social media circus earlier. For years, writing pals urged me to start blogging. I had an agent, a book deal was surely on the way – shouldn’t I be building my platform? I’m infinitely glad now that I didn’t begin blogging or tweeting until just a few weeks before my agent landed me this current three-book deal. Not that there’s anything wrong with unpublished or unagented writers blogging – there are plenty of great blogs out there from authors at these early stages in their careers. But for me, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. I write comedy, and I’ve worked hard to build my brand around providing you with a consistent source of amusement. It would have been much harder to make you laugh if I’d been dragging you through the rejections and near-misses that peppered the last few years (unless you’re a sick bastard who enjoys laughing at other people’s misery, in which case we would have had a great time together).
I don’t regret picking the wrong agent first. When I first queried agents in 2006, I was lucky to have four of them offer to represent me. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I now know I chose wrong. Not that there was anything wrong with my first agent, but it just wasn’t the right fit. The thing is, I don’t regret the decision. You know how sometimes you have to date Mr. Wrong in order to know Mr. Right when you meet him? It’s sort of like that. Without that first agent relationship for comparison, I’m not sure I would have recognized the fabulousness of my current agent, Michelle Wolfson (who is probably wondering from that whole Mr. Wrong/Mr. Right thing if I’m confused about her gender).
Is there anything people might assume you’d regret, but you really don’t? Please share.
And please don’t tell my mom if you’ve heard any regret-worthy stories about me. They’re all lies, mom, I swear.