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I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

 

Hey, you with the tear in the corner of your eye and the frown dripping down your face,

I know you’re querying and I know you’re thinking of giving up.

Here’s the truth: Querying is hard. It’s hard work, and it’s hard on your spirits. There’s a lot of research involved. It requires a lot of time-consuming attention to detail, and you are most certainly guaranteed to receive a lot of rejection. Maybe–all rejection and nothing else.

It’s brutal on the heart and spirit. You feel like a complete loser. It’s embarrassing. And there comes a point where you may feel like an untalented piece of shit poo, and you should just quit. But you have to look in the mirror or open up those pages and look at all those words that spilled out of you with great passion and heart. Ask yourself–how much you want it?

Don’t forget that every writer has been rejected. Even those you think of as being “the greats.” Maybe they didn’t get quite as much rejection as you are getting, but they still got rejected by someone at some point.

When you get those rejection letters that tell you that the agent or publisher just “didn’t connect” with your book, think of all those books that your friends so highly recommended, but you just didn’t love. Over and over you’ll hear that this is a “subjective business,” remember that it’s not just a line that agents feed you. It is, in fact, a very real truth. It doesn’t mean that you, or your book, suck. There are a lot more factors that go into someone deciding whether they want to take on your project than just the words you wrote.

One day, you’ll get something other than a rejection if you keep working to improve and you don’t give up on yourself no matter how hard it gets.

And remember…

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal_ it is the courage to continue that counts.”

You just need the courage to continue. Be tenacious. Work to improve. Do not ever give up. You can do this. I believe in you.

 

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Sinking

Sinking

My darling friends,

I know I usually post on Mondays but I have some feelings to work through and the best way for me to do that is always by writing.

Over the last few days, I’ve been sinking. Not like a rock in water but more like a discarded daisy tossed in some bubbling, gray muck. I’m not exactly sure what brings me to this place, again and again, but here I am.

I suppose it may have something to do with this sunless, never-ending winter. At this point, it feels like summer is just something I dreamed about once. It snowed this morning, and my spirit sank as quickly as these daffodils.

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I’m taking my vitamin D supplements, but I don’t know if there can ever be a replacement for the warmth of the sun kissing your skin. It’s kind of like a virtual hug versus the real thing.

Maybe part of it is the feeling that people think of me as a toy and not a person with a beating heart. I’m real. And so is my pain. It would be easier to have your heart completely snapped in two and left alone to repair, rather than slow, cracking fissures repaired shoddily with sweet, loving words.

The biggest culprit, I’m sure, is the rejection that comes along during the querying process. I know this is typical, but I think what bothers me most is that people who are not writers and have never written and queried a novel seem to think that if the book is any good, or if you have any talent, your novel will immediately get picked up. I think that’s the part that makes me feel like a big, fat, failure more than the rejection itself.

I’ve been honest about my process and failures, but it’s hard to share that part. It would almost be easier to suffer in silence in some ways and not share what I’m going through. It’s hard to live up to people’s assumptions. If I didn’t suck, I would be successful. Simple. Easy. That’s what they think.

And so many people think they could write a novel (if they had time–how many times have I heard that) and it would be the next great American novel or a New York Times Bestseller. I know that’s how people think because many have messaged me for “writing advice” and told me how they could write a book and that they’re sure it will be “better than anything they see on the shelves now”–the shelves I currently can’t get my book on. That’s why I know that they think if this book doesn’t get published, then it must be because I’m a talentless loser.

I already feel that I’m a talentless loser all on my own. I have a lot of fear that this is what’s going to be proven to me and not the phrases I’m always repeating to keep going. “Keep writing. You can do it. One day it will happen.”

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I know I can work through this. I always do.

Perhaps there wasn’t a lot of point to this post other than me knowing that this expression of my feelings will begin to heal me. Maybe some of you feel the way I do, and you’ll know you’re not alone, in whichever way you are sinking.

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Chin up, Charlie.

Chin up, Charlie.

Keeping my chin up, having a stiff upper lip, and growing a thick skin…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Best to admit it, I think.

While I don’t necessarily feel the need to whine, complain, and bash myself over this hard, hard, super hard process of write/edit/query/rejection (mostly the query/rejection portion)…I also don’t feel the need to pretend I’m tough and that it doesn’t get to me, that I don’t want to give up. Quit.
I am a sensitive girl, always have been. I have always cried at movies and TV shows (agh, the end of E.T. or the Green Mile and that particular episode of Highway to Heaven with the homeless boy living in a box with his cat) Happy endings, sad endings, doesn’t matter…a river of tears will flow. Books also make me cry (The One and Only Ivan had me doing a very ugly cry, complete with gasping. This was partly because it is a beautiful and sad story and partly because it was similar to a book I had been writing and my book seemed too similar to this one to continue with. Mine was about a space chimp. When I stopped writing it, I felt like he died).
Kisses in movies always make me “woooooooooooooh!” gush out loud. Funny, ah, I love funny things and people beyond belief! I don’t know if I love anything more than getting hysterical with someone.
And really happy moments make me squeal like a pig! I just can’t contain it.

Yes, I am a person of tears and pig squeals! My heart, I wear it right there on my sleeve. I’m not a person with a poker face or with a stiff upper lip. If I’m mad, there is a pretty good chance my brows will betray my feelings.

I will be super embarrassed if my work is never deemed good enough. I almost didn’t share this journey (journey, I hate that word, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment) because it is hard and embarrassing. I am sure I am going to shed some tears. Of course, I will, this is hard on the heart. But, I am going to keep writing. I am going to keep on editing. I am going to keep on visiting the Grammar Girl to try and relearn everything I forgot since school. I am going to keep querying. I am going to keep on getting rejected. I am going to feel free to share my failure and my success. It is not going to be my little secret.

I am going to keep trying. When I need to cry, I’m gonna. When I need a hug, I’m going to ask for it. And hopefully, the day will come when I will squeal like a pig.