Friday, August 5, 2011

The Universe Called, was I Listening?

*ring, ring*

"Hello? Oh, hey Universe! How's it goin'?"

~silence~  (this is all you can hear, 'cuz you're not on the phone with me)

I chew on my thumbnail, listening intently while the Universe rips me a new one. It finishes with some nice stuff though, you know, to be encouraging.

"M'hm, okay, yes, I understand. Well, great to hear from you. Talk to you later."

My head falls and smacks against the keyboard. I'm utterly spent by the roller coaster of emotions. 

~ ~ ~

Okay, obviously that's not how it really went down. It was more like this. I woke up and checked Twitter. In my feed was a constant drip of actual quotes from editors as to why they had rejected particular manuscripts. I was so stressed out by this, you would not believe it. I felt like each comment was one that could be directed at me. Now, take note, I have not submitted anything to this publishing house. My manuscript isn't even done with it's first draft. Therefore, it's ridiculous that I had any emotion about these tweets at all. I tell myself that it's such an advantage to have these insider snippets of information. That I will be better because of them. Still, they scare the shit out of me.

That's the thing about writing. You can try so hard, but someone is still going to think it sucks. You have to write for yourself first, and your audience second. Maybe to give the finger to an old college professor third, you know, if that's what you need to do. I digress. You have to have thick skin, or be incredibly resilient, or both. Because the honest truth of it is, you will have WAY more rejections than requests. Even if you become a best selling author, some jackass at some newspaper is going to say your book wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. What people like, and don't like, in the way of literature is vast and varied. One person's Anne Rice is another person's Stephenie Meyer : ascribe to those authors what you will (I like vampire books, so sue me). See, that's my point exactly. I like vampire books, you don't. No biggie. The thing is, as writer, it can be really hard to retain your perspective on the situation.

Just as I was feeling like my manuscript was a lost cause and was I contemplating throwing in the towel because "who wants to read my stupid stories anyway." Just as I was ready to skulk back into the recesses of my mind and take up residence in the Land of Hopeless Dreams, I saw a new tweet. This tweet reassured me that someone, somewhere, enjoys the way I tell a story. That's reason enough to keep writing. If I can't write for me, then some days I will have to write for my reader(s).  Even though we have to write for ourselves, sometimes you need to believe someone else out there cares. So, thank you to the people that bother to read anything I write, including the postal worker who sent back the envelop that was illegibly addressed last week.



  1. AB!! No matter how much success, there will always, ALWAYS be someone who doesn't like your work, or doesn't care at all. Those are not the people you're writing for. You're writing for yourself, of course, but you're writing for those who seek an expert tour-guide, for taking us where we've never been, or want to revisit. You safely lead us place we're afraid to go, and show us beauty created in the depths of your heart and soul.

    Use criticism as a tool to get better, not a tool up with which to beat yourself. ;-)

    And wasn't that thoughtful of the postal worker...she could have just tossed that envelope in the shredder, right?


  2. Hi AB, I have heard that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. So many times we worry when we should not. Often criticism can be used constructively but should never unnerve us as that makes us loose our peace and ultimately our vision.

    Something I just heard yesterday which will help me in my work is that its not about us but about the people we serve. When we give good service to people or use our gifts and talents to uplift others everything else will follow!

    You have talent and there are readers out there that enjoy reading your work so who cares about the editors.