People accuse me of perkiness, usually people who know me only at arms length, mind you. And those that forget I am 43 years old. Perkiness is a youthful thing, if you ask me.
Those that know me well call me more accurate and less flattering names. I’m a challenge, a tiger, the General, overly dramatic, moody, emotional, a werewolf. Sometimes people say I am driven, goal oriented, type A, a little OCD. My closest peeps know that I am reclusive and borderline anti-social. I wouldn’t go so far as to say agoraphobic, but I hate to venture out of my house unless it’s with my husband. When he’s not around, I can go days on end without leaving the sanctuary of my carefully arranged tower of pillows that form the chair back to the chair bottom provided by my mattress.
No one describes me as querulous. Yet, as I click these keys, querulous I undoubtedly am.
By now, your eyes have gone all glazy hazy, your french vanilla coffee is lukecold and no longer wafts its pleasing aroma your way, and you’re asking yourself how many times you will come back to this blog if I am not going to make you pee your pants with laughter. I get it. I will re-institute a “make them pee” blog standard soon.
Today, I am full of self-doubt and self-disgust. I’m fat-ish, and the process of de-fattifying is long and unpleasant — I’m midway down this path. I have started teaser runs of 1.1 miles that have me worrying the bit in my teeth but hobbled by the ever-present pain in my foot, with my mind demanding that I keep it slow, so that there will be a someday, a next marathon, a future Ironman, a so-so-so-so-so badly craved trail ultra (no, no trail ultra). I was horrible to my wonderful husband last weekend, who deserves only the best from me on past credit alone. We are cash strapped, which traps me into a higher profile wage earner role than we had hoped. I don’t dislike my job. I just hate the pressure. And I haven’t written a word in my novels since November. Not a word.
And… (here comes the boom)
I want to quit “trying to be a writer”.
I do. I want to hide the books in a drawer. I want to close down the blog. I want to crawl back into the cave I emerged from a year ago when I warbled out in a twangy voice that cracked on the third word, “I’m a writer, y’all.”
I honestly do not know if I have it in me. I look at what I have produced so far, and I am clueless if I can ever make it good enough that people pay to read it. I don’t know. I can’t see the forest, the trees, the leaves, the stems, or the bark anymore. None of it.
I have a pile of rejections. Altogether, I have probably sent out 80 queries on my books. I don’t have an agent. I’ve won a couple of contests, but that didn’t open a single door, to my huge disappointment. The publishing industry is in the gutter, with Border’s expected to announce bankruptcy soon. (And I pray they don’t) Yes, I know editors/publishing companies aren’t buying, agents aren’t selling, and writers are stuck wondering whether to hold out for the traditional route or self-publish. I know it’s not just me — I have a friend who has made it a step further than me, a friend who writes kick ass young adult books, who has an agent that believes in her … and has two books that failed to sell to a publisher, crushing her heart like a stink bug under a boot heel — but my God this sucks.
The agent I’ve corresponded with, spoken on the phone with (her call to me), and dined with (at the invitation of our local Writers’ Guild) I’ve recently learned has a reputation for stringing people along. I don’t know if it is true, but I feel that way about my personal situation. I have two other agents holding a manuscript. One has had it since August, the other since October.
NOT.A.WORD.FROM.EITHER.OF.THEM. And I’m too scared to follow up.
I sent out the latest 20 (included in the 80, above) query letters last week. I’ve received two polite form rejections. I may never hear from the other 18. Out of the 80 queries, I’ve only received 10 rejections, anyway. Mostly, I hear nothing at all. This is par for the writer’s course. But I don’t care. I don’t want it to happen to ME.
See? I am querulous. Whiny. Peevish. Fretful. I’d add to that unappreciative, since I know, relatively speaking, how much success I’ve enjoyed, in such a short time. Yep, I admit it. Ungrateful. Lacking in appreciation for my blessings.
Tetchy. Waspish. Petulant.
I wrote a really wonderful, positive post recently. I meant every word of it. The power of looking for the positive in others is my bedrock. Someone wonderful (Blair Newberry of Austin) shook me up in the comments, though. She applied it to how we think about ourselves. I KNOW. She is right. And I will return to that state of being, eventually. Soon even.
Time for a hot soak, and a book written by an author who has succeeded where I have not. Or a bike ride on the trainer to burn the demons out of me.
Deep heaving sigh.
Just ignore me. I’ll right the ship tomorrow.
p.s. OK, here’s the truth. Eric’s out of town. He’ll be gone for most of the next three weeks. I know this plays a part in my flagging confidence. Pooooo poooooo.
p.p.s. I can no more stop writing than I could cut my index fingers off with a butter knife. I love every moment I spend writing. I AM a writer. But a writer striving to publish? Argh. The cave looks inviting. And private. Pain-free. Eric, see what happens when you take my sunshine away?