I had to face two realities in the past month. One of which I had an inkling and no false pretenses about, but I've seen many others in the same position as me feeling let down. The other reality was a rather harsh blow and I think it ripped away what innocence I had left.
Illusion Number 1: When I release my first book, my royalty check and popularity will be through the roof.
I had a feeling it wouldn't be like this and I'm sorry if I just shot any wanna-be writers down. Oh, you can smile smugly at me and believe your book/writing/marketing ideas are so different that you'll do tons better than me, but I assure you, cases like the above are one in a million. Writing a novel isn't a one shot deal to fame and fortune. I never believed it was, but it was still a hard truth to swallow when I saw it happen to me and a few fellow writers. A few of them became disheartened.
What I have learned is that if you want to be known and make the money, you've got to get your stuff out there. You need to build a readership. The more stories you have out and about, the more your popularity (and your paycheck) will create a snowball effect. Given this knowledge, I have spent every spare moment writing my butt off. I can't be the next big thing if no one even knows my name.
Illusion Number 2: When the military isn't on deployments, they are home.
Yup, this is an illusion. And believe it or not, before I was a military wife, I had no idea. I honestly thought that if my husband wasn't on deployment, he would spend every night coming home from work like anyone else with a 8-5 job. Then I learned about duty days... Okay, I can deal with that. One night a week that he has to work, no big deal. Then, I heard about work-ups.
Backtracking a little here. When my husband was stationed here, his ship was already deployed. He had to leave within two weeks. It was hard, but we worked with it. When he came home, his ship had to get some repairs done to it. This meant no work-ups, no deployments, no taking off at all. I didn't realize how lucky we were. Just before his ship was released, I heard murmurs of this dreaded thing called work-up. I was informed by other military wives that work-ups are mini deployments. The scoundrels that thought of these horrid ideas also decreed that work-ups cannot exceed thirty days (so they don't have to pay separations pay to the families) but the ship can pull a 29 days out, 1 day in, 29 days out, etc schedule. I thought this was an extreme situation horror story, that it would never happen to us. But it did, just this month. Damn, really? So in essence, my husband is deployed, but he's not. And no. I don't get to skype/IM/video chat with him. I get an e-mail about twice a day. If I'm lucky he can use a payphone on the ship (that yes, we have to pay for by buying a calling card through the ship).
What am I doing to deal with these two monumental illusions being shattered? Well, I'm writing, of course. Because, at the end of the day, that's the only way I'm going to be able to keep my sanity.
So question: What illusions have you had broken that sticks out in your memories? How did you deal with it?~ D. F. Krieger