Have you ever played that game? It's a good ice breaker in a classroom setting. Each person comes up with two truths about themselves and one lie. The others try to decide which statement is the lie. It's a fun way to get to know people and sometimes quite surprising to find out which was the lie. Let's try it. I'll give you three statements about myself and you try to figure out which one is a lie.
1. I have seven tattoos
2. I turned down a publishing contract this week.
3. I've seen the musical Annie three times, including once on Broadway
Now try to guess which is the lie
Scroll down for the reveal
I do NOT have seven tattoos (I have four). I DID see Annie three times (and loved every one of them). I DID turn down an offer to publish my novel, Damaged, this week. I was offered a contract by a small press and had to make a decision between going forward and seeing the book in print now or taking a deep breath and thinking long term for my writing. This week I had to ask myself if I wanted a book published or if I wanted to be an author. I chose the latter. It was not an easy decision because, well, I WANT MY BOOK IN PRINT NOW. But, I feel like, maybe, I'm just on the edge of something bigger (not glory, that's Lady Gaga). By bigger I mean that I think by pushing myself harder, by really looking at the questions being asked of my characters and my plot, I can turn it from a good book into a great book. Into a book that gives you what a friend of mine calls "a book hangover". Mostly, when it finally goes on shelves (look at me thinking positive!), I want to look at it sitting there (likely with tears streaming down my face) and know that it is the absolute best it can be. I believe it was good enough to be published but I also believe that it can be better. If Eminem is right and we only get 'one shot', I want mine to count. I am so fortunate to have made wonderful contacts, friends, who patiently put up with my questions and concerns all week but they all said a similar thing: in the end, the choice is mine. I had to decide what was best for me and for Damaged. There's no way to know for sure if I made the right decision, not yet anyway. But I know I feel at peace with it because I took my time to make the decision. I talked with many people. I researched and debated. It is easy to feel pressure to get noticed now before interest in you fades but I don't think it works like that. What I noticed, is that when I reached out, I had this huge support group of people willing to talk with me, give me advice or just a sounding board. I've become more than a writer...I've become part of a community of supportive, professional individuals that aren't going anywhere, regardless of my sense of urgency. To be fair, my sense of urgency is part of my personality. So now, I"m heading back into Aurora, Colorado where Damaged takes place. I'm going to shake things up, dig deeper, and push my characters to be so strong that one day, when it's on a shelf in a real bookstore, I'll not only know it is the best possible version, but it'll have been worth the wait. And in those moments of frustration and uncertainty, I'll know that my writing is valuable, getting noticed, has the chance of, one day, giving you a book hangover.