Why My Expiring Passport Makes Me Sad About My Writing Career

I’m trying to get all of my work in order to head off to Bouchercon in two days and not be completely behind schedule so that means a light post today. I went to renew my driver’s license and opted to get the enhanced license that lets me get into Mexico or Canada by car or train or boat and it replaces my expiring passport.

I got that passport in 2003 so I could go to London for the Crime Writers Association Dagger Award ceremony where I was nominated for the Debut Dagger for best unpublished novel manuscript. I didn’t win, but it filled me with hope about the career trajectory I was about to embark upon. I have to say, 10 years later, I’m not where I thought I would be and I’m kind of disappointed in myself.

It looks like, for the most part, I’ve missed out on the golden days of traditional publishing and my future writing career likely rests in the electronic field. That doesn’t bother me so much. I like ebooks and think digital publishing has some great benefits and can ultimately provide a more fulfilling experience for writers, readers, and publishers once all of the kinks are worked out. But I’m still nostalgic for the publishing industry that was and it sucks knowing I most likely missed out on it because I was lazy.

I’m proud of the work that I’ve put out over the last 10 years, but I know if I would have been more focused I could have put out more. Now, it might not have all been good, but I think my odds of writing a publishable novel in the last 10 years would have been greatly improved if I had written more than three of them. Whether three books in 10 years represents good productivity or poor productivity doesn’t really matter. I know I could have written more novels but didn’t and that’s all that matters.

But I still have hope for the next phase of my writing career. I have one book that I love out with a publisher, another book that has tons of potential sitting on my hard-drive waiting for me to figure out how to unbork it, and two more novels I’m working on that I have high hopes for. I also have a very cool editing career that has certainly cut into my writing productivity but that also has made me a much better writer overall. I’m working from home full-time, which I don’t even think I could have dared dream was possible 10 years ago, so that’s a plus as well.

How have the last ten years turned out for you guys? Better than hoped or massive disappointments? Or, more likely, somewhere in between?