Trying not to be a princess writer.

So I’ve been kind of messed up in the head this week.  I feel like it’s a constant theme:  writer goes haywire, drags herself back from the brink of despair, moves on.  I guess there are worse themes.  Objectively speaking, it does get easer.  Knowing that whatever it is I’m stressing about will probably be resolved by patience helps.  Talking about it after the fact helps, because one of the worst things for me to do is to keep my mouth shut about something for an extended period of time.  “I’m depressed about x, and I’m depressed that I’m so terrible that I can’t share it, which makes me more depressed about x.”

1) I haven’t gotten any further writing on Exotics 4 done.  For some reason, my head is so full of short stories that I can’t think straight.  I’m just going to write them and get it over with.

2) I’m convinced that my current short stories suck.  Just something awful.  Logically, they probably don’t.  I was telling the plots of some of them to Lee last night, and he sounded interested, even though internally I’m going, “Lame, lame, lame.”  I wish I could identify what it is I don’t like about them (or what’s disturbing me about them), but I can’t seem to get past that lame.  Now, if I look at them with my publisher hat on, they’re fine.  Not the best, but fine.  Writer hat = lame.

3) Sales have been steady, even though I’m adding more ebooks.  Waaaah!  More ebooks should = more numbers, right?  But crap, I’ve been doing this for five months now.  What?  It’s not all hearts and flowers yet?   Sheesh.  But in some ways, I feel like I’m letting people down.  I said it wasn’t easy, but it was supposed to be easier than this, right?  My numbers totally dropped when I started sending my family and friends my ebooks…which is both good and bad.  Bad, because my numbers are down.  Good, because I have a better sense of how I’m doing.

4) I got annoyed at the amount of crap that was filling my inbox, so I’ve been on a mission to unsubscribe this week.  It’s crazy how resistant I’ve been.  Too many newsletters, coupons, etc., and I don’t want to give any of them up.

5) I hit 100 rejections…er, either yesterday or the day before, I forget which.  I’ve continued to post all those on Twitter, which gets me about one comment per rejection:  “Why on earth are you doing this?”  And then I get to explain that on my last push to get short stories published, I gave up after 12 or so.  I feel like people try to hide their failures too much; it gets into this vicious cycle where people try to be “professional” by concealing how hard this stuff is, then see that nobody else is talking, and assume that they’re a failure because nobody else is talking about how hard it is.  Ah, I could go on about that all day.

One professional writer told me to knock it off because it makes me look bad, but I won’t; even if it does, it’s what I believe in.

I stopped tracking novel rejections, but believe me I still get them.  (I didn’t set a goal for novel rejections this year, because I decided that I only wanted to submit to my top picks before I self published.)  For some reason, part of what helped me get out of the mood of earlier this week was hitting that number.  “I may not be breaking into pro markets,” I said, “but I’m beating the hell out of that wall.”  I have about 25 stories up on average; I have 29 right now.

I keep wishing I had some brief burst of success to pull me out of my funk.  The white knight of acceptance or a burst of sales.  But, when I think about it, I don’t want to be some kind of princess writer who has to be rescued, but the kind of person who can keep myself sane and entertained.  Well, with the help of Lee and Ray and my friends and the kindness of strangers.  But we all need that kind of thing.



Blind Spot


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  1. I like your rejection/acceptance total “tweets”. They seem to me to be all about your healthy level of confidence, and a great sense of humor. A realistic assessment of goal setting with data to help see how many submissions it takes per acceptance is valuable, the fact you’re willing to share your journey is invaluable. Everyone has those “dark night of the soul” periods of time. I think we all just say to one another, “Hang in there. You’re getting somewhere.” If you’re passion’s still burning for the craft, then keep at it. Everything you learn will make the next attempt better. You’re one-hundred percent ahead of every never-tried-for-fear-of-failure writer.

  2. You’ve described my week almost verbatim. I’ve been in a funk and craving some flash of goodness to help me pull out of it, but it feels like I’m some fucking Rapunzel in her tower waiting for someone to yank her hair.

    It’s not just you.
    it is hard.

  3. I know what you mean about people hiding their failures too much. I too have recently confessed how very little I’ve allowed myself to fail, and how very little rejection I’ve received compared to other writers, due to my innate fear of failure and rejection. I normally do give up after a dozen, and I shouldn’t be doing that. Terrible.

    So I say keep standing by what you’re doing. I think it’s a good reminder for other writers to see that when they think they’re trying hard enough, they probably really aren’t.

  4. De

    Thanks, Allie. But twelve rejections isn’t terrible…just not there yet.

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