Do You Still Love It?
a guest blog by novelist Lauren Morrill
While gearing up for roller derby practice and complaining about a mountain of deadlines recently, one of my teammates says to me, “You became an author because you always loved to write. Now that it’s your job, does that take any of the love out of it?”
Since most roller derby conversations consist of how to care for those oozing blisters on your feet and which compression shorts are least likely to creep up your butt during a game, I was a little surprised. So I thought about it for a few seconds, and then gave her my answer.
“Nope. Not at all.”
But why? How? Aren’t deadlines and reviews and expectations crushing my spirit?
Nope. Not at all.
Ok, a little bit about me: Part of the answer lies in the fact that I am both a hopeless procrastinator and a very fast writer. Depending on your perspective, those characters combine to be either a very very good, or very very bad thing. As a procrastinator, I’m always trying to find the next book to read or show to Netflix binge (Dance Academy, anyone?). But as a fast writer, I can do all those things and still get my words down at the 11th hour.*
But the deadlines! The humanity!
Turns out? Deadlines are great, because they’re a reason to finish (and, just a little tip from me to you … finishing, is the first step towards being a successful writer). I find that I do so much better now than I did when I was wandering in the wilderness with my writing, when publishing a novel seemed like a far off fantasy. Having expectations and people who depend on me means that after I’m done watching the sixth season of Law and Order, I’m going to sit down and crank out a few thousand words.
But the expectations! They’re crushing!
The expectations? They’re motivating. I love thinking about the teen reader who finds my book at her local library or better yet, pulls it off the shelf at her local bookstore. I remember how much I loved to curl up with a good book, and knowing that there are folks out there doing that with something I wrote? Yeah, that’s a major incentive.
But still, don’t read the Goodreads reviews.
Sure, there are times when it feels like work, when the words aren’t flowing, when I’d rather just close my laptop and walk away. And when there are contracts and checks and professional relationships on the line, there are moments when it can definitely feel overwhelming. But ultimately, I remind myself of the best parts of my job: the readers, and the fact that I get to do my job in my pajamas on the couch while getting the most our of my Netflix subscription and eating ALL THE CHEETOS.
So has becoming an Author with a capital “A” spoiled the writing life for me? Not a bit. Despite the hardships and the stress, it really is as good as I imagined it would be.
*Yes, I recognize that this sounds braggy, but I believe in turning your weaknesses into a strength like you’re supposed to do in job interview (you know, “I work too hard” or “I care too much”).
LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and their dog, Lucy. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours getting knocked around playing roller derby. Publisher’s Weekly called her debut YA novel, Meant to Be (Random House) “entertaining and quick-witted.” Her second YA novel, Being Sloane Jacobs (Random House), releases January 7, 2014.