Katy Lee’s Writing Stage

Hello all, Katy Lee here. Yesterday, Vivienne Lynge shared the “Stages of a Writer Career.” Click here if you missed it and want to see what stage you are in, and what you have to look forward to. But today I thought I would share the stage that I am in—and how I have to keep pinching myself because of it.

According to Viv’s list, I am in my 40’s…now I’m really not in my 40’s, age wise, but for this list, I’ll go with it and be happy about it.

This is where Viv put me:

“Ahhh, the 40′s – the decade when you finally feel like you’ve arrived.  You’ve got a contract and a couple/few books out there.  You’re a midlist author!  Wahooooo!  You are speaking at conferences, offering your experiences to newb’s in their 20′s, just starting out.  Maybe you are starting to feel some love from your publisher.  You might be getting recognition from some of the big contests, the Edgar, the Rita, a Newberry award.”

Viv would make a great carpenter, because she knows how to hit her nails dead-on. Reading through the stage, I could see how each part fit into this season of my writing career and it made me pretty happy to see where I had come from and where I still might go.

But one part in this stage scared me. In fact, it was something I was thinking about earlier this week when I received a message from my local RWA group asking for published authors to become a mentor. This is the part where I’m being asked to share my experiences with the newb’s, as Viv put it.

Yes, I have book contracts. Yes, I have spoken at conferences on a certain topic. Yes, I have been recognized in contests, but, after all this, I still don’t feel adequate to be offering advice to newcomers on their work. I still feel like I’ll wake up someday and all this will have been a dream, or worse, it will have been real and people will realize I have no talent, after all.

Am I the only one in this stage, or in any of Viv’s stages who feels this way? At what stage does it go away? Or does it ever?

The thing is I REALLY want to be a mentor. I REALLY want to help other up-and-coming authors, and I know I can’t wait until this feeling of insignificance goes away, because chances are, it will never go away…and maybe I shouldn’t want it to?

The Unlocked Secret…and my Ah-Ha Moment: Humility is a virtue I want to always have. Nothing should be taken for granted, and I should always take every success as a blessing. And as with any blessing I receive, I know I am given it so that I can then BE a blessing to someone else. I need not fear about failing someone else. I will offer whatever I can, and I’d be willing to bet my mentee will help me become a better writer in the long run because of it, hence pushing me up in Viv’s list to the 50’s. Wahoo!

Question: So what stage are you in? Did anything scare you?

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6 thoughts on “Katy Lee’s Writing Stage”

  1. You aren’t alone in feeling the old “imposter syndrome,” Katy. I keep waiting for someone else to tell me I’m a “real” author. With my fifth book due to release in June, I still wake up wondering how I got here. I realize the answer to that question is “one arduous step at a time.” I’ve paid my dues, worked my butt off, fallen on my face and picked myself up a few times, and I’ve learned a ton along the way.

    Humility for me is about recognizing that I still have much to learn and that I owe it to myself and my Maker to take what I’ve been blessed with and pay it forward. I’ve always known that when I stop learning, I will stop growing as a person, but helping others along the way is just another way for me to express my gratitude for all that the Universe has brought me to, and I trust that sharing my experience with others is just one more way to live my life as an act of worship.

  2. Wahooo is right. I am excited b/c my first manuscript is coming to its final 25,000 words. But . . . in answer to your lover-ly question about becoming a mentor, “When does this feeling of insignificance” go away? I speak from my heart . . . and a lifetime of working and teaching. It does go away. You are through the first part, being a accomplished writer. The second, being a mentor. Your mentees are like clients or students, they have questions, you have answers, most of the time, or you probably have the wisdom to find the answer. Katy, you will make a perfect mentor. After all, you home school your kids. What do you think?

  3. I got a couple of contracts with big houses but I still don’t feel like I’m in my forties yet. I haven’t spoken anywhere. I haven’t been to any conferences yet. I’m still a nobody when it comes to my publishers. But I do know good writing when I see it and so do you. You would be a good mentor. I would like the opportunity to pay it forward too, but right now I know I don’t have enough time to give someone else. Hopefully in another few months I’ll be there.

    1. I totally get this. Writing under deadline kind of freaks me out. I’m so afraid I won’t be able to to do. HOWEVER, my next book isn’t due for another month, and I’m just about finished, so maybe all this anxiety isn’t necessarily needed. Maybe just a little anxiety to keep my working, but not so much that I shut myself off from the world in fear that “life” will get in the way of making my deadline.

      Plus, I can say how much time I can give. Is it proofing a synopsis? Or cover letter? Obviously, I can’t proof a whole ms.

      So if I mentor, I will need to be sure exactly what I can offer, so my mentee doesn’t get forgotten.

      But for you, Sugar, give it a year. Get your first release launched and going. I think once DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD is out you’ll feel like you’re in the 40’s.

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