Since the news has gotten out about my book deal, a lot of people have been asking me how all this happened. My answer is often "I got really lucky." Because, well, I DID get really lucky. July was probably the luckiest month ever for me. Not only did I get an agent and a book deal, but my husband won a raffle for this cabin in the Smokies. Um, seriously.
NOTE: We did not actually win said cabin. They didn't sell enough tickets. But we still got a lovely consolation prize.
So, all this luck got me thinking. It's true I was lucky, but I also poured a lot of blearly-eyed, caffeine-fueled hours into this book. Which led me to really think about what makes a successful writer.
Luck. Yes, I credit a lot of my success to luck. I'm lucky that the type of books I write, Young Adult, are popular now and only getting more so. I'm lucky that my book isn't paranormal or dystopian, because those are two genres that have a lot of competition right now.
Talent. We all have different innate skills and interests, but I don't believe talent is something you're just born with. Talent is something you earn. I've been told I have a talent for elegant sentence structure...that's because I studied copy editing for over a year. I wasn't born with an innate knowledge of, you know, gerunds.
Hard work. Let me tell you, this book didn't just magically appear. I write between 15-30 hours/week in addition to having a day job. I've been writing like that for years. And it's HARD. It's hard to not come home from a long day of work and watch TV. Or to miss a hike with my husband because I'm writing. Or to skip a glass of wine because it makes me spacey (this one kills me, naturally).
It's hard to stop thinking about writing and actually do it.