I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Writing Lesson #1: Publishing is NOT the Endgame

It's been over a year and a half now since I signed my first publishing contract and 9 months since my very first book - my baby - was first introduced to the world. Since these dreams of mine finally came true I've been running full speed with writing, marketing, planning and obsessing over every tiny detail during every free moment I had. (Notice blogging didn't make that list? Bad Ashley.) Now with my 2nd book coming out in 2.5 months and planning a super-secret standalone book release for the spring (oops! Not so secret now ;-)), I'm spinning faster than ever.

Long List
Sometimes it grows on its own...
Finally something hit me the other day while I was fretting over a long writing To-Do list: A big part of the reason that list is so long is because I have learned SO MUCH since I started down this road. When I first decided to make writing a career my To-Do list looked about like this:
  1. Write a book.
  2. Write a query letter. 
  3. Get published.
  4. Make money and be fabulous.
Those were the early rose-colored glasses days. It took longer than I'd like to admit to pull my head out of my ass and start figuring out what launching a writing career would actually take. In fact, I wrote THREE books before I got out of the Step 1 loop. And that's when I discovered that there are actually about 573 things to do before you can get from Step 2 to Step 3 and another 1,897,203 things to do before you can see Step 4 even with help from Hubble.  It's a common myth that getting published is the end of a writer's work. Wrong! Getting published is just the beginning.

Now my To-Do lists look more like this:
  1. Finish 4th revision of WIP
  2. Set up MC's plight for sequel 
  3. Choose Artwork for Con Ad (Get bleed sizes!)
  4. Edit video from book reading for website/Get stills for Media Kit
  5. Update Quicken with receipts from Book signing
  6. Follow-up with book store for dates for next signing
  7. Finish guest app for Con
  8. Schedule and write guest blog post
  9. Pick music for book trailer
  10. Oh yeah... WRITE
And that's just a sample To-Do list for a week. It turns out there is so much more to writing than just writing. This was the first lesson that I had to accept about the writing business. It can seriously make me feel a little crazy at times when I really let myself think about the tasks and the work ahead, especially when I think about doing it in conjunction with a full time day job (gotta pay for my writing fix somehow, don't I?). But here's the secret that keeps me going:
It's worth every nail-biting, head-banging, hair-pulling second to see my books in print. 

I don't know a single author who wouldn't say the same thing. There's no room for getting discouraged because at the end of the day you're still doing what you love. How many people can say that? Next week I'll share some of the happier lessons I've learned while writing, but for now I'm just going to go cross this one more thing off my To-Do list...

Good advice, hot men
Good advice. Hot men.


  1. Welcome back girlie!!! You sound so busy but having those hotties talk is meow worth it!

    1. Thanks, Tammy!! And yes, that picture contains at least 3 of my husbands :-)

  2. The problem with to-do lists at this stage of your career is nothing gets crossed off any more, just moved to the bottom and revisited. The pointy men are quite convincing, aren't they? I feel like I need to write right now.

    1. I think I need to build in a loop on the list that goes Write -> Revise -> Read -> Weep -> Revise -> Read -> Weep -> Revise...


"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." - Ken Blanchard