Friday, February 13, 2009

Rising up Above the Masses

(This is something I wrote a few years ago, that I came across while recently perusing my files).

I stare at my underwater screen saver. Colorful fish swim around, just like the thoughts in my brain. I keep tilting my head, hoping the stuff in there will either fall out or magically organize itself so I can think clearly again. It’s no use though; the only thing I seem to be accomplishing is a stiff neck.

One month ago, life seemed good. I sent out query after query and as I pressed send for each email, I knew no editor could refuse my brilliant ideas; after all, I had done my homework by feverishly perusing the Writer's Market, I had attended writers conferences, I had been published in Better Homes and Gardens (only once, but it was a great moment). I was no amateur writer!

Now I feel as if my life is on a downward spiral. I talk to myself each time I open my email.

“Today is the day! I am going to find a contract in my inbox and an assignment for three more stories.” Then I start playing games in my head.
“Get real. There won’t be anything except more rejections.”
“ No, today will be different!!”
“Oh please, get a grip.”
“No, really. I... I know it will be different today.”
“Yeah, right!”

I pause before opening my email. I seem to be moving in slow motion as I click on my mailbox. I close my eyes quickly; then slowly open one. There in the middle of my inbox is a response from an editor. With a trembling hand I click on it thinking maybe this is the one!

“Dear Writer, (this is never a good sign). Thank you for submitting your article idea BUT....”

With a big sigh I close down my email. Why do I keep doing this to my self? Why don’t I just give up?

All writers at one time or another have hit a moment like this, one where nothing seems to be going right. We feel like we must be horrible writers because no one seems to want our articles, books, short stories, plays…nothing is selling.

It is in these moments that true writers emerge and (using the well know cliché) the women are separated from the girls and the men from the boys. The die-hard writers are the one’s that push through these moments when others fall away. They are the one’s that sit back down at their computer and start writing again. They are the one’s that published.

So, what kind of writer are you going to be? Are you going to dwell among the masses who give up and never reached their full potential or are you going to rise above that and keep writing--even when it feels impossible.


Theresa said...

Hi Kerrie,
Don't be discouraged; it's a numbers game. As Catherine Coulter once said, you've gotta have a strong ego to survive in this industry--and with the tough economic times and dwindling independent booksellers, it's even hard, however I CONSTANTLY hear--form both agents and editors--that the cream will rise to the top. The best will still stand out. We just have to write cream!

I write women's fiction and I'm a self-proclaimed submission whore. I LOVE submitting and seeing how my work is received. When an agent or editor is too shortsighted to see the brilliance of my work, I send out 9 more queries in search of that one editor or agent who will appreciate my books and know what to do with them.

Now when a rejection comes in that has interesting feedback, I ponder their suggestions, and if they have merit, revise, and THEN go bother 9 more of their colleagues with query letters.

Chin up! They say, the persistent prevail!

Deanna said...

For me, writing isn't the problem. Submitting is another story. It's not that I'm not use to the unrelenting stream of rejection letters. It's that I love to write a querying cuts into my writing time. That's why I love blogging. With two young children, it will be a while before I start making money, but at least I'm still writing. And for now, that makes me happy.

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