The one good thing about being a writer: You get to make up all kinds of stuff in your head, transfer it to the written word, and glory in your obvious gift of converting language into entertainment.
The one bad thing about being a writer: Real Life.
Real Life has taken the wind out of my sails in the last ten days. There is the impending death of a family member – no picnic, to be sure; spring, when the yard beckons for attention; summer, when the Real Job heats up; and the antics of my children (yes, even though they are grown – responsibility doesn’t lessen, it just morphs into a different monster). So I have not been writing as much as I should.
I like writing, really I do. I’ve done it continuously since my mother handed me my first pencil. However, my mother was not a fan. I leaned toward scathing pieces from the get-go. In fact, a little known ironic anecdote: I was thrown out of Catholic school for a little story I wrote on a dare. I have always pushed the envelope.
My mother gave me a Remington typewriter that weighed about 25 pounds for my high school graduation, wished me well, and advised me to “stop writing stuff that makes people angry.” Then I entered my twenties, went to college, and partied a little too hard. No direction. My very first novel typed on that very same typewriter sits in a box in my basement somewhere. No, it’s not complete. I ran out of steam after 100 pages or so.
Being an adult means making choices, like working to eat. I did that. I got married. I had kids. I love my family, but Real Life really sucks the time away from the creative side. So what did I do? Made time for me. It was easier to do when the kids didn’t need me as much. Before that, I felt guilt for being selfish.
And so started art classes and writing. I’m totally amazed that I have completed two novels. Two entire books with the words “The End” at the bottom of the last page. This is epic, my friends. I have so many balls up in the air, it’s a miracle I can complete anything.
My first completed novel needs major work. The second has been majorly worked on, and I thought it was ready for submission. I thought I was ready for the standard rejection. There are literally thousands of people writing novels and only a small percentage ever snag an agent or ever get published in the traditional sense. These facts made for a nice buffer, and I’ve been handling my “sorry, not what we’re looking for” s with aplomb.
This week’s rejection was different.
I was told my novel concept might be too novel to be published. (I agree, it’s different. But too unusual to be published? That was crushing.)
Huh. I then went into Pity Party mode. For about a minute and a half. (Okay, a day and a half.) I ate a lot of fast food and chased it with chocolate and soft drinks. While chocolate is a writer’s best friend, fast food and soft drinks aren’t usually on my radar. I now have a pimple the size of a quarter (location kept secret because it’s quite embarrassing) for all of my gluttony.
I [psychically] cried about several things, including my rejection(s), my fence falling down, the state of the economy, the absence of the wire wrap teacher (because I like her and she’s funny but she has a broken toe and hasn’t been to class in a couple of months), our tax bill this year, and the fact that every weekend it’s been rainy and cold instead of warm and sunny. I also pitched a fit about my muffin top, my husband’s office (still looks like a bomb exploded), and some of my lesser favorite employees.
When I came out of my funk, I started writing. I also started reading. Here is an amazing blog post about failure. Son of a gun, but that was timely. Here is another about manufacturing writing time. Thank you, I needed that. Then a writing friend sent me this link, which caused me to laugh heartily. Of course there is the famed Rejectionist, whose current post has more to do with fashion than being rejected. I liked that.
That being said, the Pity Party is officially over. It’s time to get busy.
Filed under: editing, people, rewriting, womens literature, writing Tagged: | chocolate, crying, editing, fast food, life, literature, michael larsen, michelle maclean, more writing, novels, pity parties, real life, rejection, rewriting, the rejectionist, writing