Thursday, March 27, 2008


Posted by Lynne Griffin

Without a doubt, life as a writer is unpredictable. Compared to riding a rollercoaster or pushing a boulder up a large mountain, suffice it to say, it's hard work. Yet there are days when if I could only store the exhilaration up in a bottle and wedge the cork in tight, I could sell it for more than any book deal posted on Publishers Marketplace.

The trick is to manage the ups and downs, to get a handle on my point of view. So here's a little exercise I use when I need a little perspective.

One month from now: I will be a panelist and a moderator for two workshops at this year's Muse and the Marketplace conference.
One month ago: I was struggling to embrace my multifaceted writing identity. (Funny, my solution was to change my outlook.)

Two months from now: I will have completed a first draft of my second novel.
Two months ago: I worried my editor wouldn't procure any blurbs for my first novel. (This just in, Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and Banishing Verona says, "Life Without Summer is a sparkling debut." I promise to share more in a future post.)

Three months from now: I will have Advance Review Copies of my novel out for review.
Three months ago: I was finishing the edits suggested to me by my insightful editor, hoping I would get the tone just right.

Four months from now: I will have met the team at St Martin's working to launch my novel.
Four months ago: I met my editor for the first time.

Five months from now: I will have a preliminary cover. (Pray it's one I love.)
Five months ago: St Martin's Press sold French rights to Life Without Summer to Belfond.

Six months from now: I hope to have a completed manuscript to my writers' group for feedback.
Six months ago: The wonderful Elisabeth Weed sells Life Without Summer to St Martin's Press.

Seven months from now: I will be proudly standing next to debut novelist, Amy MacKinnon on publication day for Tethered.
Seven months ago: I was preparing for publication of Negotiation Generation, yet secretly consumed with worry because Life Without Summer was weeks from going out on submission.

Eight months from now: I will be planning publicity for Life Without Summer.
Eight months ago: I was reluctant to take a vacation because I was convinced I hadn't done enough to round out my publicity plan for Negotiation Generation.

Nine months from now: I will be ringing in the new year--the year I become a published novelist.
Nine months ago: I went to New York to meet with my publicity team for Negotiation Generation.

Ten months from now: I will be reading reviews of my novel. (Yes, Amy, I will read them.)
Ten months ago: An editor expresses interest in Life Without Summer following the Manuscript Mart at the Muse and the Marketplace conference.

Eleven months from now: Life Without Summer will be published by St Martin's Press.
Eleven months ago: I took an amazing workshop with Michael Lowenthal. He challenged us to astonish readers by taking risks and dedicating ourselves to learning craft. I am forever grateful to you, Michael.

Twelve months from now: I will be a published novelist.
Twelve months ago: My agent finished reading my novel and suggested major revisions.

Perspective. Notice how time and distance allow for a more accurate view, one that shows how each step brings you closer to living the literary life. Like everything in life, the closer you are to things the harder it is to truly see. I invite you to take the perspective-taking challenge. See where you've been and imagine where you're going. You can do it.


DeAnna Cameron said...

You make a great point, Lynne, and this is a terrific exercise for any writer. I believe I'll sit down and try it myself. :-)

Larramie said...

That was eerie, Lynne, and fascinating proof that every thing has its time.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Thanks, Deanna and Larramie.

A terrific exercise to point out all things in their own time.


Lisa said...

What a fascinating exercise! I'm going to do it this weekend. Thank you for inspiring me.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...


You are most welcome! Glad the exercise gives you perspective. Aren't we always looking for that?


Anonymous said...

So inspiring. I too will do this exercise. It's the type of thing I like to save for New Year's eve (I always save a juicy writing exercise for that night), but I don't think I can wait that long!
Congratulations on all of your recent achievements.

Lynne Reeves Griffin said...

Thanks, Tara. I'm glad you like it. New Year's eve writing assignments--I like the sound of that.