Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's the Point?

When I started this journey seven plus years ago, I didn't have an exact goal in mind.  I tried to write books several times over the preceding years, but I never finished one.  I guess my initial point was to finish a damn book.  And then?  Get it published, of course.  It seemed so easy then.

Man, was I stupid.

Anyway, after those seven years & seven months, I'm wondering what the hell the point is.  I've written so many books I lost track of the number.  I've received so many rejections, I could wallpaper the entire inside of this house and have a few to spare as wrapping paper (or litterbox liners).  I've studied umpteen posts, joined and left several forums, had and lost crit partners, beta readers, and blog followers.

This year has been the second low point of my career.  The first was after Spectacle (my first book) got rejected to death and I felt like maybe I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag.  I got over that one but it took me nine months to write anything again.  That one felt horrible.  This one somehow seems worse.

It's been since about February - when I finished the first draft of my NaNo novel - that I wrote anything I really felt good about.  You know, new words that made me feel all shiny inside.

I read somewhere that it took Ken Follett something like 11 years to sell Eye of the Needle.  11 years?  Seriously?  And the other day, I was grousing about the 'why am I doing this' over at Janet's Journal when Silver James said it took her 20 years.  I guess looking at that, I shouldn't be whining.  I just don't have the faintest clue how they did it.  How do you keep slogging through this day after day for that many years without either going insane and shooting off your writing hand or giving up to find some less heart-stomping occupation - like unwanted-puppy euthanasia technician.

I know...  Boo-hoo, whoa is me... blah blah blah.  Blech.  I'm tired of myself, and I don't know what to do.  I feel like I've done everything this industry has asked of me.  I wrote the book of my heart... Nope.  I wrote something trendy and now... Nope.  I wrote and wrote and wrote... Nada.  I've worked and reworked and edited and re-edited and rewritten everything from my queries to my synopses to whole damn books, trying to make something happen.  I've taken everyone's advice - from casual blog readers to betas and CPs to published authors who've chimed in to help.  I'm still sitting here, writing for my own enjoyment and it's not so frickin' enjoyable anymore.

It kinda reminds me of that song from A Chorus Line - Dance 10 Looks 3.  Maybe I need the writerly equivalent of a boob job.  I wonder if some literary tits and ass would do the job.  I wouldn't be myself anymore, but maybe that's what it takes.  Sublimate everything to reach the ultimate goal of seeing my work in print.

Nah. I can't do that.  I like my tits and ass the way they are.  Sure, they could be firmer, but surgical procedures are a too drastic to consider.

So now I'm sitting here at 41 wondering if I just wasted a large portion of the past 7.583 years.  I'm middle-aged for crissakes.  How many more years am I going to spend sitting at this computer typing stories no one wants to read???  Seriously.

Is there a point?

To this post?  Probably not much more of one than venting.  To continuing to write?  The jury's still out on that one.  What's your point?


  1. I'm so sorry you've hit a down point right now. Hope you feel better soon because every year was another year of honing your craft. I know that doesn't help at all though. :(

  2. There's story after story of people becoming successful after years of writing or whatever other work they were doing. There's a story of a man who stopped digging three feet before he struck gold.

    Hang in there. Don't stop three feet short of your goal.

  3. Thank you for writing this - thank you for your honesty. THIS is what I've been going through since my big rejection in December (and previous to that, I was half way to this point, but continued to soldier on). I'm glad it's not just me...

    But that's not much encouragement, is it? Hang in there, B.E. - I love what Kathy said about the gold digger. Unfortunately, that's all I got (if I had more, I would be advising myself). If I think of something wonderful, I'll e-mail you :)

    Oh, and an unwanted puppy euthanasia tech - OMG, that would be a horrible job.

  4. Wish I had some magic words of encouragement for you. I think every writer out there has gone through the doldrums and we all have to find our own way.

    And seriously, someone has to write a dark, angsty, twisted character who is an unwanted puppy euthanasia tech.

  5. I've gone through this now and then as well, but for me it always comes back to the writing. Without the constant creation of stories, my life just doesn't have quite the same meaning. That said, sometimes you need to walk away for awhile to see if you still have the same drive to create. After seven years, I'm guessing you'll feel it again.

    As for how incredibly discouraging this business is (and, believe me, I sure do understand that aspect), I tend to find inspiration in other authors' journeys at just the time I need it. And so I'm sharing one I came across the other day linked from Liz Fischer's blog: Sherrilyn Kenyon's Keynote Speech.

    Hang in there. Sometimes the most fulfilling journeys are those that take the longest.

  6. For me, it's been two years and I'm nearly 40 so I have some similar freak outs coming. In the age of self pubbing, you can always remember that you don't need the gatekeepers if you don't want to go that route.

    Either way, just be sure it's what you love. That's all that really matters.

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. Not everybody is able to be honest about what the writing journey is really like. Even though my book is now out, it stills feels like I'm just breaking even - that the happiness I feel is just *barely* outweighing the stress and anxiety.

    For me, it comes back to the love, though. I love to write. The act of writing is joyous to me. It makes me feel exhilarated, and whole. If you don't feel that right now, take a breather. I really do think it will come back to you.

    I'm sending you a big fat giant hug.

  8. I was looking for something else, and I found you. If you already know about this, and if not, I think you can self publish through Amazon, check this out:

    ... and you can just advertise on your blog and through your blogger friends, you can publish snippets of your book in the posts, etc etc.

    Hope every bit of info helps.

    Good luck, and don't give up.

    Anna :)

  9. I don't think you were stupid. All writers start out with a dream of writing a book and having their work published, don't they? And because they love to write.

    I hope you feel better soon. Don't give up!