Monday, September 21, 2015

On cat barf and celebrating the small things

I woke this morning to the startling discovery that one of the cats barfed on the bedroom floor.

OK, that wasn't the startling discovery. We have five cats, so barf is an everyday treat.

This bad boy is on sale here for 99-cents!
No, the startling discovery was that Marine for Hire was sitting at #15 on Amazon's "Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store" list. Considering this book has been out since February 2014, and considering its previous best rank was around #132, this was big news.

I shared the news with my husband as I climbed groggily into the shower with him. "Congratulations," he said. "How are you going to celebrate?"

"Well," I said. "Since it's 5:30 in the morning, I'm going to start with a vigorous session of Pilates with my personal trainer, followed by a flight to New York to have brunch with my agent."

"Uh, what?"

"That's code for 'clean up the cat barf' and 'fold laundry.'"

He politely refrained from pointing out my code sucks, though he did point out something I hadn't realized: With About that Fling still hovering in the low 30s on the same Amazon bestseller list, that means I currently have two books in Amazon's top 40.

Quite an accomplishment for an author who spent the last four years seeing mostly mediocre sales, and the previous six or seven years before that hearing editor after editor say, "sorry, but romantic comedy just doesn't sell well."

I'd like to pretend my day's plans got more exotic from there, but the fact of the matter is that I'm up at 5:30 because I urgently need to write 6,000 words today for a book that comes out next fall. And my fervent hope with those 6,000 words is that at the end of the day, 1,000 of them might be salvageable.

That's kinda how it goes with this author gig. To the best of my knowledge, there's no magical moment where you stop writing drivel on a regular basis. You just get better at distinguishing the drivel from the good stuff.

And as far as I know, there will be no point where I stop having to plant my butt in the chair, sit down at the keyboard, and write until my fingertips are sore even when I'm tired or cranky or so uninspired that it feels like I'm wearing a fur coat while slogging through a vat of honey.

God knows I'm not complaining – I love this job, and I feel damn lucky that I get to do it. But I do think authors (along with a whole host of other people in different careers) need to do a better job of celebrating the mundane, day-to-day accomplishments. You got up this morning and put on pants? Good for you! Have a burrito! You got through your email inbox by noon or wrote 500 words or organized your sex toy collection in alphabetical order? You're a rock star! Pat your fine self on the back and feel good about it.

Now if you'll excuse me, that cat barf isn't going to clean itself. Well, not unless I let the dog have a crack at it. Hey, there's an idea . . .