Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A True and Honest Confession...


...that has nothing to do with blogging. Or reading, really.

Sometimes it feels like pursuing the dream of being a published author feels like lassoing the clouds...

I've mentioned, over the years, that I'm an aspiring author. In that regard, I'm one of many such blogger-aspiring authors. We read, and many of us also write. And though I'm slowly crawling out of a reading/blogging slump that encompassed most of 2011, one of the benefits of not reading as much as getting to work on some of my manuscripts. The ones I'm talking about are a dystopian story and a high-fantasy story.
I've wanted to be a writer ever since I discovered the works of Lloyd Alexander and Brian Jacques back in elementary school. In addition to loving the characters from those worlds, I was inspired to create my own, to populate my own worlds. And over the years I've tried to suppress my desire to tell stories, mostly because the world of publishing is such a hard (and often devastating) industry to break into. I still can't stop.
But lately...I don't know, I'm just feeling more and more unsure of my chances. I feel like I'm allowing myself to be beat before I even enter the ring.
I try very hard to stay away from author blogs and author websites. That may sound like a weird thing for an avid reader and aspiring writer to say, but when authors talk about how long it took them to find an agent, or how long they had to wait until their story was published, or how many rejection letters they received...it freaks me out. It makes me think, "gah, should I even bother?"

But I've (accidentally) found two author posts that really forced me to look in the mirror. One of them is here. The author makes a vague reference to manuscripts she originally wrote that never ended up being published. And that makes me wonder....one of the stories I'm working on right now - my fantasy - will it, too, never see the light of day?
I understand that not every manuscript is publishable. I understand that a lot of manuscripts are little more than springboards that will lead to newer, better, stronger manuscripts, and those will be the ones to try and get published. And I know that I may sound arrogant or ridiculously wishful, but I cannot bear to think that my fantasy may never see the light of day.
I'm writing this one so slowly, so deliberately. Sometimes I'll leave it alone and not touch it for weeks because I can't give it the attention it deserves (see, I'm not able to sit at home and write and the bills to magically pay themselves. I actually work during the day). But this story feels right. It feels like it needs to be in print. But, because it's one of the few manuscripts that I'm close to actually completing, does that mean it will be doomed to never reach publication? Is it to be little more than a springboard? And will I be the only person to ever know it exists?

There are days, like today, when I feel like, "why should I even bother working on this anymore? I'm probably going to be the only one who will love it." When it comes to my fantasy, there are so many conflicting feelings I have over it that I have to keep myself from going off-topic.
So while I'm glad that it looks like I'm out of my reading/blogging slump, I fear that I'm descending into a writing slump as well. All these author posts talking about how they had to rough it and tough it out and take rejection are probably intended to inspire, but for me, they're like sucker punches. I don't know what to feel about my writing future at this point, and that's unnerving.

9 shout-outs!:

StephTheBookworm said...

Hey, don't give up. This is really similar to how I feel about my trying to lose weight. We just have to keep on going!

Katie DeKoster said...

You know what? I think by writing this post you're not allowing yourself to fall into a slump. You obviously love your story, and you know it deserves to read, so psych up! The first step is ALWAYS the hardest. Send it to one publisher for starters, and just see what happens! Sending all kinds of good wishes your way (but not luck - you don't need it :)).

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I don't know what to say except, I hear ya. *hug*

kate said...

I suggest looking at this site I know they may seem trivial in compared to actually submitting to a big publishing company but look it over you may be surprised

http://figment.com/

I remember one other site but I can't remember the name where you post your work and the more votes it gets the more likely a publisher will look at it or something like that sadly I couldn't find it for you

Stephanie said...

I relate to everything you just said.

Jillian said...

I think any aspiring writer (and even published writers) feel this way! Don't feel discouraged of the actual feeling of being discouraged, if that makes any sense in any way, because this is totally normal.

That being said, I suggest you DON'T think about the finish line too much. I know we should, because it will help encourage us to go for our goals in the end, but I also think sometimes it tends to intimidate us. So try as much asyou can to just write because you love it. Because it's fun for you. It brings you happiness and inspiration. Not just because you want it to be your future.

I am sure that 'future' you dream of, will eventually happen. Just don't torture yourself on the way to it <3

Enna Isilee said...

It took me a really long time to come to terms with the idea that if I DON'T become published, my world will not end. I'm going to college to become a teacher, which is something I will be happy doing for the rest of my life. If I also get the chance to publish a book, great. I haven't written in almost three years, and I'm just starting to consider starting again and it's terrifying me. I just have to keep telling myself "Not getting published is not the end of the world."

This isn't really advice to you, or even a comment on your post. I think I'm just talking to myself.

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I think it's natural to feel this way. I felt like that in my early 20's and actually stepped away from the dream for more than a decade. I just decided it wasn't for me, and let it go. It's okay to let go of the dream if it's not making you happy, and you can always come back to it at a later point.

DJ D. said...

Don't stop writing. Ever. You clearly have the passion for it and just because it's not an easy road, doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue it. Some authors are able to secure an agent or publisher right away, so don't get discouraged just because it can take a while otherwise. Nothing in life is ever truly easy, but when great things happen, it's that much more rewarding, you know? And if you love your fantasy story and make it the best that it can be, then someone out there will surely love it as well. And you know what? Even if it "never sees the light of day", it doesn't mean it won't find a home in some other future form. :-)

Keep writing, keep reading, and keep loving what you do. Most importantly, stop worrying about what may or may not happen. Easier said than done, I know, haha. I never thought I'd get published and my book was picked up by the first and only publisher I submitted to. So, keep at it because one day you WILL get there. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen because, as I said earlier, you seem to have the passion and drive to write. And those are important things to have in this industry. Good luck and chin up! :-D

 
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