I knew things were going to change for me in 2016, I went into the year with my debut novel release set for late February and my wedding on the books for six months later, almost to the day. That would have been plenty, but one change begets another. Change comes not in drips, evenly spaced, as you’re ready for it, but in tidal waves.
I got my second book deal in March shortly after Losing the Light launched. This deal felt entirely different from the first. When I got the call about the first book deal from my agent, it was exactly what I had imagined. I burst out of my office and announced it to my coworkers: they knew I’d been on tenterhooks waiting. I cried all the tears: the happy ones, the ones of relief, the ones of pure unfiltered emotion at something I had been waiting for all my life coming true. I called my mom, my dad, my boyfriend (now soon-to-be-husband). We drank champagne in the marketing meeting, then again that night and all the next weekend.
The second deal was a happy occasion as well of course, I’m thrilled to be working on a second book with all of the same people who gave Losing the Light such a fantastic debut. But it was different this time, there was no feeling of the surreal. It settled on me as my agent and publisher and I went back and forth about the particulars: my life had changed. I was doing this author thing for real now.
Being a writer of novels was one thing. Over the years I’d become incredibly adept at squeezing the work into the margins, the stolen hours of the mornings before work: on weekends when I was being really diligent. But being an author is a different job. I was lucky, having worked in publishing for over a decade, I was prepared for the intense hustle of marketing and promotion. Being prepared didn’t keep me from telling myself a fiction that’s familiar to many of us: I can do all of it, I’ll make it work, I’ll just work harder, better, more efficiently.
But by April the wheels were coming off. I needed to step back. So I took a sabbatical from my day job as the social media and marketing director of Girl Friday. I needed time to finish writing the second book and to actually answer some of my wedding planner’s emails. And I just needed a minute. We can only absorb so much at once. In the space that opened up in that month away from the daily grind of emails and meetings: a thousand big ideas came to me. And then—for a variety of reasons—I did not return to work following my sabbatical. The tidal wave rolled on.
Over the past three weeks since this came to be I’ve felt all of the emotions on the spectrum: sadness to leave a job I once loved, and coworkers I still love, the apprehension and uncertainty that comes from suddenly not having a full time job after having had one most of my adult life, and mostly, excitement that I can now move forward with the thousand big ideas. I feel so much gratitude for everything I learned at my time at Girl Friday, and before that with the late, great Kim Ricketts, and before that at Doubleday. The sum total of these experiences has made me who I am: sharpened my vision of who I want to be in the world.
So what’s next? Writing, of course, and the ability to put it first. Working with authors and creatives one-on-one. Remaking how we think about book events and book audiences and how authors and readers connect. I not only can’t wait to get started, I’m already knee-deep.
So bring the change. Bring on the next thing and the next. The tidal waves comes to clear the way.