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

- Graycie Harmon

Monday, June 21, 2010

So Many Things All At Once!

Sorry this post is so late, the computer is being obnoxiously slow again.

There has been an awful lot for me to report this past weekend. I'll start with the fun stuff.

I am so incredibly sunburnt. That in itself is not fun. It's actually quite painful. I haven't been this sunburnt since I was a teenager, running barefoot through the bush in Australia. The reason I'm so sunburnt? Well, my sister and her husband are in Canada on a visit, so I took them to Le Nordik Spa in Chelsea, Quebec (actually, they took me. They wouldn't let me pay for myself.... I had wanted to spoil them....). It's an awesome Nordic Spa. We spent much of the morning there. As it turned out, it was quite a sunny day and, of course, I hadn't thought to bring sunscreen.

Entirely my fault. The burn didn't show up until long after I returned home. In fact, it was only after I had woken from my nap that I noticed the burning, itching, feels-like-I'm-a-walking-radiator sensation. Ugh.

The day before that, I took them to Lefleche Adventure Aerial Park. It rained... heavily... and so our Aerial Adventure was cancelled as the park was closing down as we arrived. We had to go into the reception area to book an alternate date. July 2nd it better not be raining! I was sorely disappointed about that.

In terms of writing news, right now, I'm in a 'low.' I get these periodically, these 'lows.' I'm sure that's fairly normal, but this one is quite severe and has me ready to pack it in. I never thought I'd actually consider giving up, but I actually am.

If I was a good writer, then surely someone would have spotted that by now? Surely at least one agent would have liked what I had written? I'm so disheartened by this whole process, the hoping against hope, only to be deflated by rejection after soul-crushing rejection.... I don't need to have one more dream crushed, thank-you very much.

More than once this weekend I cried over the whole affair. It's stupid, I know. I can't do anything except what I am doing.... so it's all out of my control and crying won't help matters any. I've alternated between despondency and anger and back again. I'm mostly angry at myself for letting myself get too hopeful, too invested in this stupid game. Chances of success are never very great.

That voice in the back of my head, the one I had written about that encourages me? It's back now. Practically screaming, actually. All sorts of confusing thoughts are going through my head and have been all weekend.

Evidence suggests I give up. Little voice's very powerful encouragement says not. Sometimes I think that becoming an author is the right direction - my path, and then other times I think that there wouldn't be so many heart-breaking obstacles if that were the case.

I mean, am I just wasting my, and everyone else's, time? My experiences to date have told me that perhaps I'm not such a great writer after all. Was everyone just being kindly when they said they loved my stuff? Is it absolute rubbish in reality? Just when did I start thinking 'I could do this' in the first place? What the hell was I thinking?! It's a miserable game. I hate it.

And then that stupid little voice pops into my head, and I read nice rejections like the one that began with:

'Dear Ms. Carriere,
You are a good author and this looks like a book that will be published....'

And I wonder if I can do it after all.

I can tell all aspirants one thing, this sucks!

As it stands right now, I will tie up the loose ends and leave it at that. I will finish editing the story for Unlocked. I will be reading at the Stellar Literary Festival in Oshawa this weekend. I will complete and self-publish the anthology I've written for I will wait for the rest of the replies for The Third Prince, but not submit for that story any more. I will, as I said, fix up The Seraphimè Saga and submit it to that intriguing competition I mentioned. And that will be all.

Not forever, mind. The urge to write is thoroughly uncontrollable. I will, however, be taking an extended sabbatical from the publishing game. I don't know for how long. Until I get bored, I suppose.

I will be maintaining this blog. I'm sure there will always be something to write about.

Hope I didn't bring everyone down too much. Have a great Monday everyone.


Tom said...

Personally I'd suggest you don't give up. Perhaps put your submissions on hiatus for a while, and then simply take a break. I'd be very surprised if you can put your pen (or whatever implement you use to write) to one side for more than a week or a month before you think of something, a great idea, a fantastic line.

Never give up being what you want to be. It's mostly irrelevant whether you get published or not, unless you want to replace your paying job with what will eventually become just another paying job.

In what way is not having to go into the office every morning, knowing you have a set number of hours and tasks before you can return home less tolerable than knowing you have a deadline, and must deliver an outline, a chapter, a book or whatever, and no matter what you do, it's stuck?

The great advantage of not being a full time writer, I suspect, is not having the enormous pressures applied to them.

This is why you'll hear the phrase "difficult second book". I imagine all writers suffer from it, whether it's knowing that there's an expectation from a publisher or an audience, or knowing that it cannot possibly measure up to your first brilliant effort.

To put this into perspective, take two people from history, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

No matter what Mr Armstrong has done since that day in 1969, he cannot top being the first man on the moon. How can he? Imagine having that pressure on him, every day. Knowing that as far as achievements go, that's it for him.

Now compare to Mr Aldin. Sure, he was the second man on the moon. And the first to speak there. And the first to pee there, but he went on to other things, including getting a Pixar character named after him.

His journey through life had other chapters to come.

So, which would you prefer, to give up, Armstrong style, or keep going, like Aldrin, or the third guy who no-one can ever name?

Take a break, examine your work afresh in a month or three, and see what ideas occur.

S.M. Carrière said...

Thanks Tom. I'm in a better frame of mind today... but I think a break is a good idea.

I don't think I'll be able to stay away from writing for long either!