Today I was out shopping, and I ran across this video ad. Blaring across every TV screen in the electronics department, was an ad from best-selling author Nicholas Sparks. He was promoting his new book, I forget the name of it. While a visual of his new book cover danced across the screen, his voice over said something like, “This is Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, and a number of others…”
My heart caught in my throat. This man has so many best selling books, he could only list them in a voice over equivalent of “et cetera.” Yes, it seemed a little bit of douche-y comment. But, he was right. He has written more books than can be listed in a 30 second promo spot. Then, he went on to explain how he was in North Carolina working on his next novel.
Of course, I did exactly what the PR people wanted me to do with that statement. I imagined him in this gorgeous beach house in North Carolina (it’s his second home, but it’s ten times bigger than my only home). On the weekends, he wears polos and khakis rolled up to his ankles, so that he can play tag football on the beach with his kid. During the day, he sits down at his computer, with a proven formula for producing bestsellers flying out of his fingers. He’s got a spacious office, with dry erase boards on top of dry erase boards where he has intricately planned out his new novel. He spends a few hours a day writing, and then has to take business calls where he plots out his career, and takes long phone calls where he talks of industry people, and what they are all up to.
In the evenings, he hosts snotty dinner parties, full of people that laugh at all of his jokes and mesemerizing stories about…I don’t know…mountain climbing in Spain or something. They all sit around his living room made of pristine white sectionals, and glass windows, with the moonlight coming, and the beach gently foaming in the background.
And I think about all of this. You know? I’m not jealous of his success per se. I don’t begrudge the man anything. Like every woman in America, I cried through the Notebook. I’ve also read a couple of his other books. He’s a good writer. Good for him. I’m glad he’s achieved success.
But damnit, what about me? He’s published so many novels. Why can’t I publish just one? I’ve done the work. I’ve planned, and plotted, and character sketched through whole notebooks. Then I’ve written and rewritten, and rewritten again. I’ve edited until I can edit no more. I’ve researched and queried and read all of the articles on what to do and what not to do. But I still can’t seem to get anywhere.
He’s got so many novels published. Why can’t I seem to get one?