Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher
The more I learn as a writer, the less I seem to know. Sound familiar? As a writer, I work hard at my craft, attend workshops and classes and spend hours in front of my computer working, immersed in the world I am creating.
Finally, it is done and I sit back in my chair feeling a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief that I actually finished the story. Sadness because it is time to let go of the characters I have spent so many hours with.
And then, I have a flutter of panic..what do I do now?
Polish it until it shines, right? Let others read my work and offer comments that either leave me feeling I can conquer the world or that I should immediately stop writing, bury my laptop in the backyard and never look at a thesaurus again. I usually land somewhere in the middle, grateful for the advice I’ve been given and determined to fix the sagging middle and characters that need more depth.
My laptop is saved from a premature interment and I head back to work with renewed vigor.
But, wait….don’t I need to submit my labor of love so that it can be enjoyed by more than just my friends and critique partner? Isn’t that what we, as writers, do? Okay, I can do this, I tell myself. How hard can it be to write a synopsis (excruciating comes to mind), craft a killer query letter (still working on that one) and submit to the editor or agent of choice?
I’m here to tell you, ignorance really is bliss.
Although other writers will share their experiences, the number of rejections they have collected, and how many agents they went through before they found that perfect one, it doesn’t really resonate until you are the one opening your email and finding the dreaded rejection. Their words are like little daggers chipping away your confidence, even though they sometimes offer constructive feedback that your rational mind (which you are ignoring at the moment) tells you will be invaluable once you dig yourself out of that blue funk you have slipped into.
Self pity ensues and chocolate really is your best friend for a brief period of time. At least that is how it works for me.
Rejection stings. No doubt about it, but I am beginning to understand that being a writer isn’t really about the rejections, reaching for the brass ring of publication or even multi-book contracts – it’s about writing. After a bit of self-pity and wallowing in my disappointment, I find myself back at my computer and off on another adventure.
Don’t get me wrong, I still dream of those multi-book deals and holding my published book in my hands, but the true reason I write is for the sheer joy I get chasing that elusive word or writing characters that stay with me even after the book is done. It’s driving home from work and “talking” to one of my characters about why they are stubbornly refusing to do what I want to write. An argument, I might add, that I often lose! It is tying up all the loose ends and getting to that satisfying end to the story where the hero does win the girl after being led a merry chase half way across the galaxy.
Writing is picking myself up and doing it again tomorrow.