Probably the biggest misconception I had before my novel was published was that my life would somehow drastically change once my book came out. My life has changed but not at all in the ways I thought that it would.
Pre-publication, I imagined I would achieve a great sense of Inner Peace. I was an Author now, after all. I had achieved The Goal. I thought writing would be easier. I'd sit down in front of the computer each day and my fingers would fly across the keyboard. I'd know exactly what I wanted to say, and I'd never get stuck. Never again would I have to throw out 40,000 words (roughly half of a novel). Real Author's didn't have to do these things.
Spoiler alert: none of these things happened.
My life changed, but not in the ways I imagined. (Just want to point out here that none of the ways I imagined my life changing involved a big pile of money. Even before getting published, I'd been in the business long enough to know that most authors aren't rich.) The changes were much more subtle than I imagined. And if I'm truthful, better.
No, I have not achieved Inner Peace. Come on, with six kids that's just not even possible. (As I write this, the dogs are fighting, and my youngest is in "time out" saying, "Mama, can I get out yet? It's soooo boooring." Inner Peace isn't even a consideration for me until the kids have all moved out. Oh wait, my daughter Grace will always be with us. Wipe achieving Inner Peace off the list. I also still struggle when I write. I've had to throw out huge swaths of texts.
But...I have met so many great people. (Spoiler alert #2--it always comes back to the people for me.) At one of my books signings, I met a nine-year-old girl who had heard about Peculiar Miracles and asked her parents to bring her to the reading. You all, it was like looking at
myself at nine. My mom didn't police what I read. If I liked it, I could read it whether it was for adults or children. My book isn't targeted toward children and I was so happy/surprised to see that a nine-year-old wanted to read it. We had a nice conversation and I gave her my email. I hope she stays in touch. I've also met so many people online who I now consider great friends. Writing is a solitary activity. I can't tell you how much it means to hear from people who like your work, and then to have those people turn into true friends...you all, it means the world to me.
I think the moms out there will appreciate the other way my life changed. Before Peculiar Miracles came out, I worried about my children's perception of me. I worried that being unavailable to them while I was on book tour or writing or anything else I had to do would be a problem. Instead, they have been a wonderful source of support and joy. This is going to sound silly, but you all they're proud of me. My oldest son sends me texts saying he's proud of me when I'm at book fairs. That same son made my sign up sheets to capture people's email addresses. They've told their bus drivers and their teachers about the book.
If you're a stay-at-home parent, you know that it's often a thankless job. You can feel invisible, and you often wonder if you matter to your family beyond your ability to find lost socks and make a mean PB&J sandwich. It's been an unexpected surprise to find out just how much my kids support me. It's something that I treasure beyond anything else that's happened.
I know these aren't the changes people expected to hear, but they are the changes that mean the most to me because they involve other people. Let's face it, everything's better when it's shared.