Exactly the number of days that elapsed between publication of the first book and completion of the sequel’s first full draft. That works out to 2 years and 102 days, most of spent not writing anything at all.
Anyhoodle, I wouldn’t call 832 days a long time (I mean, Anne Boleyn had a longer stint in her famously short reign as Queen of England), but it was during this period that I learned a good deal about writing, and about the kind of writer I am.
A basic premise: I thought I’d learned plenty from the road toward publication, but in all seriousness, it’s the post-publication journey that’s kicking my ass. Throw into the mix the grand endeavor to write a sequel one can only hope will live up to the first, if not outdo it, and things get even trickier.
To even begin to describe what I mean, here are three major lessons I’ve learned since the time ‘Tea in Pajamas’ saw the light of day.
1. It’s a whole new world post-publication
Wait, what? Isn’t print publication the be-all and end-all of an author’s publishing trajectory? To some degree, yes. I mean, you gotta have an actual product to talk about in the first place. But that’s also when the real work begins: the part where you have to get out there and hustle remind people that: 1) you exist; and 2) you’re still writing.
It’s all well and good to create Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest accounts—not to mention an official website—but devoting time and resources to keeping them updated with fresh content is a whole other animal.
So after languishing in limbo for months and months, at least since this last entry, it’s time to spring into action once more. Just this week I received the good news that I received a modest grant from the National Arts Council for Tea in Pajamas!
The letter arrived at a time when I hadn’t been giving this project a whole lot of thought, or any at all. Since submitting the grant application in June, I’ve switched jobs, and like any newbie, it takes awhile to find your feet. So between that, and keeping up with the demands of raising two young children, opportunities (and inspiration) to write have been few and far between.
In truth, I sometimes even forget that I’m a writer—or why I even started. Or that it is one of very few things that makes me inexplicably happy.
This grant approval letter couldn’t be a sweeter reminder.