Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Writing

I've been on a roller coaster the last few days. The highs have been fantastic, but the lows were mostly of my own making. If you aren't already bipolar, entering the world of publishing might drive you over the edge.*

*Note: I am actually bipolar, diagnosed in 1997, so I know of which I speak. No disrespect intended to anyone suffering from mental illness. I'm right there with you.

It all started a few days ago, when I decided I was ready to begin querying again. I sent out a few feelers into the Wilds of the Publishing Industry. I spent that evening riding on a cloud of wishful dreaminess. (If you are bipolar, you will know this is a real thing.)

By the following morning, I'd convinced myself I'd made a huge error. What was I thinking? I'm not ready for my baby to meet Publishing Professionals! I'm not good enough! My words lack substance! My characters are underdeveloped! My plot is contrived and silly!

And then I remembered to breathe. The extra oxygen helped. I calmed down enough to remember that my critique partners like my story. We've edited it into a tight, cohesive narrative. It is a Good Story, darn it!

When I recovered from my Stuart Smalley moment (People Like Me!), I had a grip on the proper perspective again. My writing is fine. Agents and publishers will either like it, or they won't. I can't control what other people like, but I can keep putting out the best writing I'm capable of. That's all I can do.

Rejections aren't a personal attack, but simply the opinion of one person. Likewise, requests for manuscripts aren't an offer of representation, or a contract to publish. I'm doing my best to remember this. For me, it's just as dangerous to get overly excited about acceptance in any form as it is to get too wallowy over rejection (however nicely worded it may be).

I strive for a happy zen medium. I'm going to let the requests and rejections alike wash over me like water over a pebble in a stream.

If I just keep writing, revising, and editing, I'll be fine. Everything else is a distraction. Even the encouraging news is a distraction from the real goal. Write, write, and write some more. Wish me luck.


  1. Constant distraction with baby animal videos doesn't hurt, either! :)

  2. I can't remember what other projects you have going on - but I've found it really helps to have another novel to be writing, especially now since I've mostly decided to shelve my first one for now, although I send out an occasional query. I feel less urgency on my first novel because of the second. However, as a future blog post of mine will attest to, I now have a different kind of urgency with the second novel.

    Drat. I guess there really is no in-between... writewritewritewritewrite...

    1. I'm currently revising another novel, and I'm half way through writing the first draft of a third. The third is on hold for now while I rewrite the second. My hands aren't idle, but even still, I can't write 24/7! My mind will wander. I just want to prevent it from chasing squirrels. Otherwise, I wind up running headlong into a tree. :)

  3. I call it "querier's remorse," where it is only immediately after we hit the "send" button that we become acutely aware of every flaw and imperfection in our work. The solution is just as you described: take a deep breath, calm down, and remember that no written work is ever perfect.

    1. Somehow hitting the send button seems to make you see all the flaws in your writing! It's a mystical experience. I should have a practice send, where I only email it to imaginary people. Maybe I'll find all the problems before I send it to agents or editors! :)


Tell me all about it: