June 18, 2011 by Renee
So the week from hell is behind me. I hope. Things are sort of looking up. If you don’t count the continuing lice infestation (which is getting better slowly) and the fact that my dog is addicted to pain killers (he’s whining at this moment because I’m making him wait until the designated time), or that I turned down a publishing contract only to have the damn manuscript rejected by the last outstanding agent I queried, then things are really looking up.
But really, I’m not that depressed. I sound it, but I’m not. You see, I’ve decided that it can’t be worse than it is now in terms of my publishing prospects. It can’t. At the moment, I’ve got none. So anywhere I go from here, things are looking up. By “I’ve got none” I mean the last of the queries have either expired (as in enough time has elapsed with no reply for me to safely assume that’s a “fuck you and your damn story”) and I must go through my list of agents I’d love to have and determine which projects I didn’t send them a query for might tickle their fancy. You know, that might be the worst sentence of all the sentences ever written in the history of the entire world. Really. Fantastic stuff, Renee. Keep it coming.
When I manage to steal an extra few hours somehow…I’m sure I’ve got a few coming up soon…I’ll compile a list for each novel (there are five) and start the query-rejection train rolling again. I’ve checked out the publishers worth having and the ones worth at least a gander, and most want that damn agent. So as much as the process pisses me off, I must keep plugging away at it if I hope to do this traditionally.
This week I did have a moment where I wondered if perhaps the continual rejection was because I sucked or was slightly suckish at this writing thing. Then I read through a few of the finished manuscripts I’m querying and, no, that’s not it. I’m quite adept at writing. In fact – and I’ll say this at the risk of sounding cocky and arrogant – I’ve become rather good. I read through these pages and I can’t believe I wrote some of it. Now, what I write isn’t for everyone. I’ll give them that. Perhaps that’s the problem. I always manage to include something that bunches panties somewhere.
So maybe I need to buckle down and write a novel that appeals to everyone. Just to get that foot in the door. Know what I mean? Maybe. I could probably do that. No. I can’t. I write the story as it comes to me. I balance the elements based on what makes sense to each character and the action. As I do this, I slip away from the “genre” themes and things begin to merge and blend so that I can’t slot the damn thing anywhere. Plus, there is not a chance in hell I can write something that appeals to EVERYONE. I mean, jeeze.
But isn’t that what writing is all about? Pushing boundaries, crossing lines, trying new things, questioning what is and what might be? When you do that, you always ruffle someone.
My goal last year was to at least have an agent by June 2011. Well, here we are. June 2011 and no agent. Twice I almost published, but the contracts were not very good. I didn’t work this hard to toss it away because of a desperate moment. It will come.
I’ll set new goals. Just not today. Today I just want to be able to set aside regular time to write something other than why your tree has black leaves, or how to know if you have bed bugs. I’ve written more than 500 articles with this freelancing thing in less than a year. I had to learn the ropes and get myself into a routine, so my fiction writing slowed down considerably. So every evening, when the kids go to bed, I’m going back to my old schedule. I’ll write until my eyes slam shut. That’s when I’m most creative after all.
This is how I deal with feeling discouraged. I rationalize the shit out of it until I feel better. Or I just ramble on and on until I forget why I was so depressed in the first place. It actually works quite well most of the time. How about you? How do you keep your head in the game? Whether traditionally published, unpublished, or self published, this industry can really hand out an emotional beating. Do you have any special coping mechanisms? Erm…aside from tequila and strippers.