Updated: Dec 24, 2022
I'd waited 15 years to become published.
I started writing as a kid, and since I had no hope of making it into the publishing houses as an eleven year old, I printed out my own books with a home printer, cut A4 pages in half, bounded them together, and glued them into a DIY hardback cover.
I was that dreamy kid drooling over the day when I would finally have that starry title of "published author."
And then in November 2019, it happened. I was published.
I waited for my life to transform. I waited for the money to come pouring in. I waited for financial freedom, a glamorous platform, and the "#1 New York Times Bestseller" accolades.
None of it came.
Sure, there were a handful of sweet friends and family members who bought my book and urged me to sign their paperback copies. I did have an official author website. And I was discoverable on Amazon.
But you know, life went on.
I was still Jasmine. I still had a day job. I was still living in Buffalo, NY, still had the same problems, still had the same half-empty checking account, still had the same reality I had to face at 9AM every day.
And that stark truth hit me so hard...
In fact, it took me a good six months to drag myself out of the throes of a depression. It wasn't until I realized what I'm about to tell you that I found mental healing and even excitement for life again.
Life really doesn't change when you hit a major goal. It's like, you're temporarily proud of yourself and you get bragging rights, but you're still you. You still own the same life as before.
I've heard super successful people say the same thing - and I mean the people who are earning 7, 8 figures a year. You build up all this anticipation for a goal, but when you reach it, it's pretty anti-climatical.
Here's the positive point in all this: there's a pretty thin line between being an "aspiring writer" and a "professional writer." Sure, I feel more pressured to meet self-imposed deadlines and be more of a role model since I'm now a public figure. But, my writing processes aren't any more glamorous than they were before I was published. And really, you as an aspiring author might have better processes and even prose than I do.
So don't discount yourself because you're not "officially published." That doesn't make you any less of a writer. In hindsight, if there's one essential piece of writing advice I can give you, it's to not wait till you're perfect to strive for publication. "Professional writers" are probably not so different from you.
When you finally publish your first novel, probably not much is going to change...
But change WILL come as you start to build out more of your platform; as you publish more books; as you find your voice and identity behind your author brand; as you serve more readers. One day, when you're a little deeper into your hero's journey, you'll look at your life and feel awed by the momentum you've built over time.