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

- Graycie Harmon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Pit of Despair

I am speaking to the wrong crowd if I mention that the title is a Princess Bride reference?

It is, however, still pertinent to how I'm feeling right about now.

Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I pouring my soul out on paper and then handing it over to people to judge? Why am I still going despite the fact that I've been told over and over and over again that what I have to offer is not wanted?

Doing this is a big deal for me. I mean, before I started out on this ridiculous career, I could barely talk to strangers for fear of judgement.

Why am I doing this?

I don't understand myself sometimes. I don't understand why I'm so driven to have my stories be published. I don't understand why I want them published traditionally. I mean, I love to write. Most everyone who has read what I've written enjoys it. Why the hell should I care if an acquisition editor likes it? Why? Why? Why?

When I first started out, I was fairly certain that I would be published. Somehow, despite the pile of rejections tucked away somewhere in my room, I still feel like my writing is good and I will be published. Yet, I also feel like I will never be recognised. That my writing is rubbish. That everyone hates it. How is it possible to feel two opposite things are true at the same time? I don't get it, so don't ask me.

I was just about to say that I'm at my wits end. Whether or not that is true, I'll keep plugging away all the same. Fifty years from now, I'll probably still be plugging away at it. I don't know why. I think that perhaps there really isn't anything else I ever really wanted to do so much.

I want a career as a fiction writer.

So I guess I have no choice but to keep striving for it until it either happens, or I die. If the first, then woot! If the second, perhaps I'll be recognised post mortem.

You know, this roller-coaster isn't fun, but it's the only ride I want to be on.



Plind said...

What's the point of having dreams and goals if they are easy to achieve? Half the fun of working on a project is being able to look back and see how far you've come, not necessarily how far you have yet to go.
Sure there are problems and set backs, but that's what makes life interesting. If your book was accepted the first time you submitted it, would that joy be nearly as great at the excitement of seeing it finally accepted after all the work you put into it?
Take heart, not even Toilken or Rowling were published on their first, or tenth submission.

S.M. Carrière said...

Hi Plind! It's nice to hear from you, as always.

I didn't expect to be picked up on my first submission by any stretch of the imagination. However, the volume of rejections I have received is a little disheartening.

What can I say? Rejection sucks!

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I was watching "So You Think You Can Dance?" (it's easier on me to watch bad dancers fall down than to listen to bad singers sing. I do not understand why people enjoy American Idol, especially before it's in the top 8 or so. But anywho... back to topic) It was one of the first shows where they are doing the casting calls. They had a pair of friends or sisters, and one was being sent home, one being accepted in. The judges asked the girls whether they would try again if they were sent home that day. One said yes, the other said no. They were disappointed in that second girl, as they felt it meant she wasn't a dancer in her heart, that she would give up so easily, and they became hesitant to want to accept her in. They had thought she was nearly up to par but simply required more experience or training, but not that she was horrible.

I think the same would apply to any career choice. If you love it, you will keep doing regardless of what others think, and it is that drive that allows you to call yourself a dancer, a writer, a painter, whatever.

I think it applies to you too. It is sad and maddening to be constantly rejected. I can only imagine what it is like for you, but I can tell you that from my point of view, it is also hard to watch from the sidelines that someone who has my respect keeps getting knocked down. What keeps me watching and giving what little moral support that I can is to see the admirable strength and resilience and stubbornness that makes you get up again, and not fold up.

Carlos J Cortes said...

Oh dear... having a touch of the blues? This is a sure sign you're maturing as a writer.
Say, care to let me take a peek at the first chapter of the novel you're submitting?

S.M. Carrière said...

Hi Anonymous!

If there was a prize for best comment on a blog, I think you might win it.

Thank-you for your support.

Stubbornness I have in spades, so I will continue to plug away at this. It does get depressing, though!

On the bright side, I've made some incredible friends on this journey, and have managed to garner support from corners I didn't even know existed!

Thanks again. You've painted a smile on my face this afternoon.

S.M. Carrière said...


So good to hear from you!

I think a 'touch' of the blues might be something of an understatement.

I'd be happy to send you the first chapter. Terrified, but happy. I'll send it to the email address that was on the bottom of your website (awesome site, by the by).


Gwen said...

"If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction-and ultimately, without a major resolution."
— Jasper Fforde (Something Rotten)

S.M. Carrière said...

Oooh, I like that quote. Thanks, Gwen!

Anna L. Walls said...

I like the quote Gwen put up too. It's apt for sure. I am of a like mind to you, Carriere. Why do I keep writing? I do it because, ever since discovering this way cool hobby, I have found it to be better than reading such books. To know that what is now on the 'paper' is unique, is a heady thought, considering how many books are out there. With that number out there, the number of agents that represent them is a mere drip in an ocean. Don't worry, you'll find the right person and he or she will fall in love with your work every bit as much as you already do. Just keep an eye pealed and be extra choosy who you submit to. After all, it's like finding a babysitter for your infant. You wouldn't hand your baby over to just anyone, now would you?

I'm hoping for you, every time I see you.


Anna L. Walls said...

Oh, and the torn feelings. I firmly believe that all writers are a bit schizophrenic. After all, how else could they get into the heads of so many different characters? Whenever you're having these conflicting perspectives on the same issue, just blame it on one of your other selves. haha love you

S.M. Carrière said...

Thanks Anna. You're so very sweet. This is what I meant about meeting amazing people on this journey.

I certainly hope I'll find the right person! And if not, I'm too damned stubborn to give up trying. Even if it kills me.

I think you must be right about the schizophrenia. I will use your advice. Clearly this post was written by Grumpy... Happy was out picking wild flowers.

Renee Miller said...

If you were sure of yourself and your writing and thought that everything you wrote was golden, then you wouldn't be much of a writer.

You're dedicated and you're learning and you'll get there. I have the same feelings and they seem to change hourly. The difference between us and the other guy who never publishes is that we might get discouraged, but we love writing and the process of creating t0o much to ever be defeated.

S.M. Carrière said...

I think you're right there, Renee. I'm glad I'm not alone in the see-saw of emotions that come with trying to get published!

This has been an extreme learning curve of a year! Thanks for your encouragement. I'm feeling better today.

garrie keyman said...

Nicely said by "Anonymous."

S.M. Carrière said...

I agree, Garrie.