Be Careful with Wishes

Bruce Robert Coffin here, manning the helm of the Murder Books Blog, and hoping that you’re enjoying a spectacular month of April. I want to share a few things with you as I prepare to leap over the next hurdle in my career as a full-time novelist. So many of my writing friends have been on this journey far longer than I. Prolific is the novelist who already has twenty plus books under their belt. I stare at that number in awe as I blaze past the twenty-three thousand word mark on my third novel.

It’s such an odd feeling being the rookie again. Having spent 28 years in my last career, the term rookie was something I believed I’d never be associated with again. But here I am, and everything is new and exciting once more. My debut novel, Among the Shadows, has already been out for seven months. Novel number two, Beneath the Depths, is complete and headed to publication, slated for August 8th. And, as I previously mentioned, I’m currently writing book number three in the Detective Byron Mystery Series.

You may wonder what a typical day in the life of a newly published novelist is like. Well, I’ll tell you. There’s lots of coffee, corresponding by telephone and email, invitations to appear at libraries and various community groups, more coffee, plans to attend various literary conferences, making travel plans to attend said conferences, taking part in committees to plan literary conferences, obsessively checking sales rankings on book one and pre-sale numbers on book two, writing blogs and conducting telephone interviews, making that necessary cobweb-clearing trip to the gym, checking-in with fellow writing friends, reading the various reviews of your work and then pretending you didn’t, thinking about looming deadlines, sending a personal thank you to each and every fan kind enough to reach out and tell you they read (and hopefully loved) your last book, reading ARCs and writing blurbs for fellow scribes, slowly chipping away at my own TBR pile of books, driving to and from various author appearances, etc. Hmm, I know I’m forgetting something… Oh, yeah. WRITING! You know, the actual novels and short stories.

Back when I was still dreaming of my first acceptance letter, which now seems like a lifetime ago, I was warned by a good and very wise friend to be careful what I wished for.

“The genie can’t be shoved back into the lamp,” she said. “One day, you’ll find yourself struggling to put aside time for the most important part of this journey, the writing.”

She was right, of course. I make it a point to carve out my writing time early in the day, before moving on to the other things. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. It is a good problem to have actually, as it means things are going well. Folks are reading my work and enjoying it! Which is all any writer can really hope for.

If you’re still chasing that elusive first acceptance letter, don’t EVER give up. The feeling you’ll get the day you open an email from a publisher that begins with that most magical of words, ‘Congratulations’, will be like no other feeling in the world. But remember, be very, very careful what you wish for…

Over and out!

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