My husband frequently reminds me that I take forever to tell a story and get to the point so I’ll get to the point of this post before I elaborate…
- Sorry I’ve been MIA from everything online.
- Publishing is hard. And discouraging. And makes me kinda sad.
- Fortunately, the rest of my life is pretty awesome. So, there’s that.
The writing life’s been a spectacular suckfest lately and, when that’s the case, I tend to hibernate offline, shy away from most forms of social media. It’s a petty, selfish, bad friend thing, but it’s also… healthier for my state of mind. So, I’m sorry. Sorry I’ve not been around much to read good news or send positive vibes. I know some of you have told me that you miss me and well, I miss all of you too.
Writing a full-length novel can make you feel like the biggest success and the biggest failure, sometimes simultaneously. You write a story. You revise it a couple hundred times until you might feel like it’s good enough for someone else to read and critique. You revise again. And again. Send it out some more. Revise it a couple more quadrillion times. You feel like you have something that you’re really proud of. It makes you laugh and cry—every time you read it. Your CPs love it. Some even say “This is the one!”
Then you send it out.
And despite the requests and the nice rejections, no one in the publishing industry seems to want it.
I’ve been through this awesome process several times. I’ve written probably the equivalent of ten manuscripts, probably am zeroing on the proverbial millionth word. Since my second manuscript I’ve sent out into the publishing world, I’ve won my way into first page contests, the Writer’s Voice (twice), Xmas in July, and Pitch Wars. I’ve had R&Rs. A lot of full and partial requests on various manuscripts. Close calls.
But never close enough.
These days, I’ll get a full request and barely get excited about it. The rejections sting a little less, possibly because I’m jaded to the whole thing now.
The hope has waned. Because I’m still over here. Twiddling my thumbs. Agentless.
And writing these days, man. It’s hard. I have a really horrible case of What’s The Point Syndrome. Some days I can power through it and immerse myself in my story. Most days, I’m overpowered by thoughts of “What’s the Point? No one’s ever going to want this.” or I question every word choice and sentence, afraid I’m going to offend someone or a reference is too old school or the story is just plain stupid.
I spend a lot of days wondering if it will ever be my turn. If I’ll ever get the call. And despite trying to channel all that out, the thought of never being traditionally published makes it ridiculously difficult to write.
I’ve tried taking a break, going to a writing retreat, taking another break, working on something else, taking an online class. They work for a little while, but eventually I return to the same place, mired with plaguing doubts and “what’s the point” thoughts.
Worse—I feel like I’ve lost whatever writing mojo I may have had.
(Ironically the story I’m trying to revise is titled BELIEVE. Ha.)
I know there are plenty of people who’ve been through this. Lincoln failed countless number of times at his bid for President and he finally broke through (and then was assassinated, but I digress). JK Rowling was rejected fifty gazillion times before someone picked her up. I have a number of friends who’ve finally, finally broken through the publishing wall and have books coming out within the next two years so yes, I know, I know, I know. Persist. Don’t give up. It will be your turn soon!
But do we really know that? What about all those people who spend lifetimes pursuing their dreams and never achieving them to the level of success they set out to? Am I going to be that person? And then part of me wonders, maybe I think I’m a better writer than I actually am. Maybe I’m like one of those people on American Idol who thinks they can sing but ohmygosh they so can’t.
I know the road for everyone is different. It still doesn’t stop the thoughts and feelings that it’s never ever ever going to happen for me.
I’m sure wannabe mothers understand this. Some people seem to have the easiest time getting pregnant. Some people try for years before they can have a baby. Other people try their whole lives and are never successful. I remember trying for at least a year with both my children and when I wasn't thinking about it, that’s when it happened.
And I know that’s probably the case here… when I least expect it, I’ll get that call or whatever. The problem is I’m always thinking about it. Working on “something else” makes me think abut it. And this waiting?
Writing-wise I’m just in a really sad, discouraged, bitter place right now. And idk if it will get better anytime soon.
So, I’ve been doing other things that DO make me happy. I’ve actually been watching television (I know, shocked me too)— The Walking Dead, Amazing Race, and I’ve fallen in love with Survivor all over again. I’ve probably seen Star Wars one too many times (never!) and Parks and Rec and, of course, soccer. I’ve been working on the tan. Tutoring. And reading a LOT of good books.
And while the writing life is kind of crappy, the rest of my world is doing pretty fine. I’ve been spending as much time as possible with the people who mean everything to me (aka my family) We’ve had a lot of game and movie nights and focused family time. I’ve been to see some great musicals with my daughter. I had an awesome getaway with the hubs to Asheville in March and then returned to that area with the family over spring break for spelunking and hiking and college visits (oy). My son’s made principal’s list three straight nine weeks, the husband’s girls soccer team is doing really well, and my daughter’s killing it in school. She just got named a Quest Bridge College Prep Scholar, a National Merit Scholar nominee (which means she’s guaranteed a commendation), and she scored crazy high on her ACT too.
So, if me not ever getting an agent means my husband’s girls finally go to State Championship or my son continues to do well in school and my daughter ends up being a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, then bring it. I’d be VERY okay with not ever having an agent if those things were to happen.
Anyway. I don’t tell you all this for your pity or advice or whatever. This is just where I’ve been and why and I’m sorry I’ve not been around to know what’s going on in your lives. I can’t promise I’ll come out of my hermit status anytime soon, but I hope you’re doing well and things are going much better in your writing world.