Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Unusual Saturday Post

.... which was actually written Friday, because I have absolutely no time on Saturday to even look at a computer let alone turn the thing on and wait for it to boot.

Let's see... in the morning I have Lion Dance training, assuming that I get up on time. In the afternoon immediately following, I have the Kung Fu class I teach. I won't be going home as that evening, I will aiding the professor in proctoring an exam at the University of Ottawa. I think I'll bring some art supplies and draw while I'm there.

In any case, that means that I won't be home at all Saturday... uh... today.... from about 9 in the morning to 11 or so at night (the exam is 7pm - 10pm). Thus, this is being written Friday.

Friday night I went to a labyrinth. It's a walking meditation exercise, and I'll tell you all about it Monday morning because I technically haven't done it yet. Confused yet? I'm a little bit nervous about going, and wondering if it'll bring up a whole bunch of repressed issues....

In any case, today's special blog post is going to talk about feelings. This public blog will, for one day, turn into a 'dear diary' entry of sorts. Before I start - don't get mad at me! This blog was meant to be a journal of my experiences trying to get published. Emotions are part of that experience. Please don't assume that just because I'm feeling down, or getting frustrated, or start swearing profusely at the world, it means I've given up. I'm not going to give up, but I am letting everyone out there know that trying to get published isn't easy, and sometimes it plays with the heart.

Right, so, here goes.

Dear Diary,

I received another rejection Friday morning. That makes my total rejections by agents to 11. I haven't taken it personally. Most of the time the agents are quite encouraging. Sometimes the letters are less than inspiring, making me wonder if they've even read what I had to say.

Every rejection makes me sad. I don't feel low or worthless, just sad. Every so often, I get a little angry, but unlike my other rages, any anger at the publishing process doesn't last very long. I can't really blame the agents. I mean, it's a difficult economy out there at the moment, and I'm a complete unknown. I have such a small fan base, made up mostly of family members and close friends. In this climate, who would dare take a risk on me? I'd be hard-pressed trying to justify it myself, if I were an acquisitions editor.

Still, I'm sad, I'm tired and so very frustrated.

I'm frustrated mostly at that horrid little spirit on my shoulder who put this story into my head in the first place. That evil little git is also compelling me to try and publish the damned thing. It's like this story has a life all of it's own, and I'm some powerless pawn left to deal with the aftermath of its failed plans. How annoying.

The thrill of having a story take over, of having it rush through your fingers and onto the page as you sit, an almost mindless conduit, has long since passed. The story was finished last year. There have been two more books written. Another story is taking shape even as I try and settle into writing a serious academic essay (for the first time in a few years).

Still, The Great Man is plotting, prodding and pushing me around like I'm some rag doll. I have no say. At its insistence, I sit and hope that the publisher I've submitted it to in February really likes it, and meanwhile I query agents like there's no tomorrow. Sure, it's not digging a trench, but it's hard work all the same, and to have all this work - the years spent writing, the editing, the hoping.... To have all of that go unanswered and unrewarded is frustrating and heart-breaking.

Sometimes I cry. Having one's hopes fall slowly apart, one rejection letter at a time, is a little difficult to take.

I've developed serious complexes. What if I'm not that great? What if I'm not good at all? What if this passion for my craft is wasted on a talentless no-name? What if everyone whose read my stuff and said they enjoyed it was lying? Have I surrounded myself with 'yes-men'? I despise yes-men. What if this path I am so sure of is not actually the path I am supposed to take? That last one scares me. A lot.

I spent the better part of my adulthood (thus far) lost and floundering. Writing was like a miracle. It filled me up. It made me happy. I gave me a sense of purpose and my life a sense of direction. What if it is all for naught?

For all of the insecurities, the slowly crushed hopes and the fear, there is something inside me that is so very sure that I will be published. I don't know what it is, or where it comes from. Every time I get really low, a little voice in my head pops up and says:

'No. This will be published. You will be an author.'

At my lowest points I wonder if I'm delusional and should seek professional counselling. And then that little voice comes back, and I feel sure that I will be published again.

I don't get it. How can I be so sure of something, when signs all point to failure? Tired, confused and frustrated. What a wonderful combination.

No wonder so many authors are alcoholics.

Thanks for listening, diary. It actually helped to put into writing everything I'm going through right now. I'm still sad and confused, but I feel a little lighter. I will get there. I will be published. You'll see.

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