This week I’ve been vacillating back and forth between, “oh, when will my time come?” to, “I’m in it to win it and I’m never gonna give up!”
I can pretty safely say most writers have ridden this roller coaster.
Sure, we’ve all heard the Stephenie Meyer success story–she queried for like 6 months before landing her multi-million dollar deal.
Makes you wonder, what gives???
The reality of it is that the average writer waits 10 years before landing a deal. (Please come at me with a different number if I’m wrong, ‘kay?) A DECADE? How can that be???
Though this can sound discouraging, I want to point out that for those of you who’ve been in it for 1 day to 9 years, 11 months, and 29 days:
NEVER GIVE UP.
You never know when your time will come. But you won’t ever know if you quit.
Ok, so I’m not sure how this worked, but it’s SUPER COOL!!!!
In the writing game, it’s super easy to get suck on meeting a deadline, getting that query letter out there, or finding the next writing “wrong” to “right.” Sometimes this forward focus leaves us wondering how much longer it will take before we land an agent, get a book deal, or finally be done revising a novel. It’s easy to get downtrodden and wonder: will I ever be GOOD ENOUGH?
In those moments, I challenge myself to LOOK BACK at where I started. LOOK BACK to those early days where adverbs ruled and backstory filled whole chapters. LOOK BACK to the paragraphs of passive writing and telling rather than showing.
And reflect on HOW FAR I’VE COME.
When I compare something I wrote 2+ years ago to something I’ve written recently, I’m startled by how good it is! Seriously! Okay, so I still need to improve, but my gosh, I’m a LOT better than before.
Realizing that helps me feel better. It helps me feel contentment even in a tumultuous journey. Even though I’m still waiting (sometimes anxiously so), I have 2+ years of experience under my belt, making me a lot further along than I was.
Thank goodness writing’s not a race, but it is like a marathon in a lot of ways. And I think I’m finding my pace.
How about you? What do you see when you look back? How does it make you feel about your writing now?
Gosh, it’s hard to play this game day after day after day, isn’t it?
I mean, where is my breakthrough? My success? Where’s the day where 100 agents fight over my manuscript and publishers cold call me saying they’ve read my excerpt somewhere and want to offer me a 20 book deal?
What’s that you say?
It’s no guarantee?
Even if I work my tuckus off for hours, weeks, months, years???
Well, then, what am I doing this for?
Reasons to Just Keep Swimming:
- Dori did it. (Really, I could just stop right there. I mean, she could talk to whales, right? And even in the most direst of moments–the pitch black abyss, hello!–she kept going.)
- With practice comes expertise.
- It’s fun to create something that’s 100% and entirely mine.
- It’s satisfying to rip something apart and rework it so it’s better than before (Yes, there’s angst, frustration, and worry involved in revising too, but once it’s finished, man, I’m so glad I did it.).
- I enjoy networking with other writers.
- I’m not ready to REALLY face giving up. Sure, I brush against the idea of quitting–sometimes frequently–but something keeps me in it. I’d call it hope.
How about you? What keeps you swimming?
The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV) catalogues the defined mental health disorders so that clinicians have a common language when discussing diagnoses and symptoms.
Impulse Control Disorders are their own “set” and include things such as:
- Trichotillomania (pulling out hair, eyelashes, eyebrows)
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder (extreme “explosive” behavior, often violent, with little provocation)
- Pathological Gambling
- Kleptomania (stealing)
- Pyromania (fire-setting)
These disorders are named impulsive because there’s usually no premeditation involved. It’s as if the person cannot resist the drive to act in a way that can be harmful to themselves or others.
Treatment involves a combination of medications and therapy (mostly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where the person practices identifying when the impulses arise and implementing alternative, safer, behaviors).
For us writers, developing characters with these disorders could be challenging, however, it also could create a lot of tension and conflict.
Remember, these posts are for writing purposes only and are NOT intended for medical advice or treatment. Be sure to check out Lydia and Sarah’s posts!!!