Opting Out of the Waiting Game
by Corrie Wang
Let’s start with a quick reminder. Before any published writer is a published writer, they are an unpublished writer first. Some of us for a VERY LONG TIME. For me, that meant almost a decade of my life spent waiting for a book to sell. Three different submissions, two different agents, and a lot of expectations that at any moment, my life would be changing for the better.
Not that my life was ever bad, mind you. I was living in NYC, waiting tables and loving it. (Never underestimate how rewarding and fun life in the food and beverage industry can be.) But every time a new book went out on submission, I definitely lived in a general state of “soon this will all change.”
I can leave this job I’ve grown bored of.
I’ll move out of this tiny apartment.
This tricky relationship I’m in will get ironed out.
I will buy my mom a French Bulldog.
Wait. What now?
And then my manuscript on sub would make it to acquisitions, but not any further, and not only did I have to start the grueling process of writing a novel entirely from scratch, but I had to do it while being stuck in my same old life.
Until one day, I had enough. I actively decided I wasn’t going to wait on the writing anymore. Best way I could think to prove it, was I bought my mom a puppy. Because showing gratitude and love to the woman who’d been my rock for so many years shouldn’t have to wait on something as fickle as the publishing industry. Being the BO$$ of my own life didn’t need to hinge on a book deal.
Next, I left that job. Which also opted me out of that tricky relationship. And wouldn’t you know, the next restaurant I worked at, I met the most amazingly sweet and talented Chef d’ Cuisine. Love stuff happened.
Two years later, me with a new fan-fcking-tastic agent and a fresh manuscript under revisions, my beau and I left the small apartments of NYC and made our way to Charleston, South Carolina. Once there, we learned the jobs we had lined up didn’t actually exist. At the same time, my novel went out on sub. In the past, I would have put the brakes on any new projects or life plans. This time around, I opened a food truck.
I’d always expected that when my novel sold, I’d be home, whooping it up, running around my apartment, calling my mom, crying happy tears. The reality was, when the call came, we’d just started our second day of service on the food truck. I was in a parking lot, fielding calls from my agent about the mini-auction the book was in, worried that our conversation was taking too long and that we had customers waiting.
I do not yet know what amazing things will come about because of my novel. Maybe lots, maybe none. But I do know that in the time it took the book to publish, the life I actively created has brought more rewards and taken me more places than I ever could have dreamed possible.
In fact, as far back as I can remember anything good that has come about in my life has been because of action. Action and a lot of hard work.
So to you I say, persist! Persist in your writing and try to write every single day. Commit to your writing as the most important thing you can possibly do, but for goodness sake, do not wait on it. Make your life happen in spite of the fact that you’re a writer. And while you’re at it, make that life as wonderful and fun as you can imagine a life being. Wow us all. Do something important. Because I promise you, your writing career will find you when you least expect it. And then you’ll have a published novel and a fulfilling life to show for it.
Corrie Wang is passionate about libraries, road trips, and eating all the food, everywhere. Corrie grew up in Buffalo, New York, but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, where one of her last paying gigs was managing a three-story nightclub on the Lower East Side. She currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina, where she owns and operates Short Grain food truck which was named one of Bon Appetit magazines Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2016 and is currently on the long list for a James Beard Award. The Takedown is Corrie’s debut novel. You can find her online at www.corriewang.com
Releasing April 11, 2017!
Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club, a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.
Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.
A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible-take something off the internet-all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint. Set in near-future Brooklyn, where privacy is a bygone luxury and every perfect profile masks damning secrets, The Takedown is a stylish, propulsive, and provocative whodunit, asking who would you rely on if your tech turned against you?
Thank you so much to Corrie for sharing your story with us! I think we all believe that it will be butterflies, rainbows, and happiness as soon as writers get that call, but sometimes reality hits hard. The truth of the matter is that we fight through every step of the way to get there, and your story proves that. Thank you for your dose of reality and hope for all of the writers out there!
As always, thank you so much to all of the authors who have been a part of this feature. Your words are appreciated more than you can see. We’re all so grateful for every single one of you!
We hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!