"Where are you at with things now?" a few of you have asked about my writing. Well, since you asked... Right now I'm still on a break from all things writing and not sure when I'll go back.
I went on vacation in August. There was no more Mother's Day Out and I had Will full time. I had sent out all my query letters. The form rejection emails were rolling in like ocean waves. And I decided to go on vacation from writing, from trying to get published and from worrying about all of those things. The break, the letting go, was good.
I feel SO proud of myself for all that I've done the last six months. I struggled with the question to traditional publish or self-publish. I struggled with my own inner turmoil, my perfectionism, my fear of rejection, my values, my beliefs, my dreams, my fears. I decided what I wanted to do and I went after it. I learned a lot as I went.
I learned QueryTracker is really an amazing web site. God bless whoever came up with it. Seriously. If you're a writer, get to know it, okay?
I learned that the hardest part, really, is getting ready to query. OMG, the query letter, the synopsis, are they ever right? Are they ever done? Are you ever really sure about them?
And the second hardest part is sending the first few emails. Actually, it was still hard to send every email. But I gained momentum as I went.
I learned that form rejection emails still hurt, no matter how softly they're worded. I learned that form rejection emails make me want to scream, because really, I have no real clue why it's getting rejected - bad query letter, bad hook, bad writing, wrong genre for the agent?
I learned that after getting a few form rejection emails they stopped hurting so much and I started toughening up.
I've experienced some heart ache, some heart break, lots of tears and phone calls to friends and late night conversations in bed with my husband.
Along the way I've learned more and more about publishing. Even with everything I already knew, I still feel I've been pretty naive with rosy daydreams of what being a writer would be like. I learned that the publishing industry is a pretty tough place to be, especially with the sea change that's been happening the last five years. I learned how much of a crap shoot being a writer is. I know that agents and successful writers and publishers will tell you it's not all about luck and true talent and hard work wins out. And I believe this is mostly true.
But it's the amount of hard work over a period of years. It's not just writing one novel and trying to get an agent for it. It's being willing to do that again, and again, and again, until it works. It's going to classes, conferences, reading books, staying in touch with social media and the industry, it's practicing your craft. It's going to writers groups, trying to find writing and critique partners. It's facing criticism and rejection. It's doing all this for years. Without any guaranteed pay off. And actually it's doing all of this for years when the odds are actually stacked against you succeeding.
You either have to be truly passionate and dogged, or you have to be... dumb... to do it.
So where am I now? Right now I'm unsure whether the risk/reward ratio of continuing to write and pursue publication is one I want to accept. I'm unsure whether I'm passionate enough to do all this for years with low odds of success. Right now I'm in a vacuum of uncertainty.
But strangely I'm at peace.
Because I am sure that I followed my dreams, that I worked really hard, that I overcame a lot of personal obstacles to do what I did. And if it didn't work out that's okay. I can say I tried! And dang it if that's not something.
Because I am sure that my number one priority is taking care of me, my family's needs, my husband, my son. And that's okay.
The door isn't closed yet. I have another novel I could shop around. And then there's always self-publishing as a possibility. But right now I feel no pressure to do anything. And that feels blissfully good.
It feels blissfully good to let myself just be, to let go of the idea that I have to be striving and working for something all the time.
I'm living life, right here, right now, trusting that if this is something I want, the spark of passion will light again. Right now I'm still consuming books at a rapid pace, enjoying reading for reading's sake. I'm getting used to our new Fall schedule with Will back in school. I'm sleeping more, exercising more, relaxing more. I'm at peace. And it's good!