A Broken Ankle, a Writing Career, and Playing the Long Game

Fracture Both Feet CropA few weeks ago, I fractured my right fibula (the smaller bone on the outside of your ankle). I wasn’t doing anything particularly fun or dangerous. I was kind of trotting toward a local pet store, planning to ask to use the bathroom. I leapt up onto the sidewalk, and when the outer edge of my boot hit a groove in the concrete, my foot rolled under. Crunch.

I’d hoped it was just a sprain, in fact had to be talked into going to the doctor. I’m now in an attractive (not) “cam boot” that keeps my ankle stable. The boot is far better than a cast because I can take it off to shower, or to scratch an itch.

But here’s the thing–I’m a fairly active person. I’m in the habit of working out at the gym 3 times a week, dancing at least once a week, and before I sold my mare, I was riding 3-4 times a week. I was in the middle of horse-shopping for a new horse (which I blogged about here). In fact, that day I broke my ankle, my trainer and I were about to head out to try a horse. My trainer thinks it was fate that it happened since the horse we were going to check out wasn’t a good match for me.

Even still, it’s maddening not to be able to continue my usual level of activity and to see my calf muscle shrink. I’m exercising as much as I’m allowed to (I can go to the gym if I wear the boot and can do some strengthening exercises without the boot on). But I have to balance letting the ankle heal with my desire to get back to normal. In other words, much of the process is a waiting game.

Awakening Final cover-sWaiting is also a huge part of any author’s career. Take the Tankborn Trilogy. After the long process of writing the first book, Tankborn, I had to wait to hear back from agents. Once I had representation, I had to wait through the process of marketing the book to publishers. Once the book sold to Tu Books, I had to go through the complex process of the rewrite, then wait to see the gorgeous cover art, then wait again until the first book was released in September 2011.

The decision to go to the second and third books of the trilogy took some time, then more writing, more editing, more waiting for release dates. Awakening came out in April 2013, and I have to wait until spring 2014 for Rebellion, the final book of the trilogy.

Full CoverSame deal with the Janelle Watkins mystery series that starts with the book Clean Burn. After all the waiting, it’s hard to believe that it’s going to be released in the US in less than a month. Back when Exhibit A first gave it the thumbs up was nearly a year ago. Which is kind of blisteringly fast from first offer to release. But it doesn’t seem that way when you’re dying to see the book on the shelves.

But just like I can’t make that ankle heal any faster, no matter how much I will that bone to knit, I can’t make the cycle of book to shelf happen any quicker. Writing and publishing is a long game, whether it’s via the traditional path that the Tankborn Trilogy and Janelle Watkins mysteries have followed or the indie-pubbed trail that my other books have traveled. And just as I can support my healing by eating right and exercising properly, I can support my writing career by writing the best books I can, polish them in as many rewrites as necessary, and do my best to get the word out so those books land in the hands of as many readers as possible.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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3 Responses to A Broken Ankle, a Writing Career, and Playing the Long Game

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ouch, Karen–I’m so sorry to hear of your injury. I had actually read a post of yours which mentioned a broken ankle and was going to message you about it. I hope it mends soon so you can get back to all the activities you love!
    Take care,

  2. Pingback: Horse Trading, and Is Your Writing Really Ready? | karensandler

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