Two posts! Back to Back! Something must be wrong. Did he finally get published and like Caesar returning to Rome as a conquerer, is this his victory march?
Nope. Just got to thinking about something I wrote last night, which got me to thinking about my own behavior, and BAM! before I knew it I was flying down a rabbit hole of introspection.
Before delving into the darkness, let me ask you a question first.
Be honest because nobody is actually in your head while reading this…How many times have you actually gone through all the motions of getting published? Seriously.
Not just sit in the chair, pound the keyboard, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more. The polish/scrub and out the door is what I’m talking about. Licking the envelopes, affixing the stamps and wave goodbye moment.
I know a lot of writers that talk constantly about how they are working. I also know that generally when asked who they have sent stuff out to their faces goes blank and some terrible story about query letters, agents as well as the indignity of the modern publishing houses come spilling out.
I am never surprised by this reaction. Writers are solitary creatures by nature, so the concept of having to be judged by some faceless entity just to make a living at something so ingrained in one’s being is a living hell.
Let no one tell you different, rejections have killed more writers than natural causes, alcoholism, drugs, insanity, suicide, depression, murder, and Philly cheese steaks combined.
I know writers that work all their lives but die as seamstresses, accountants, insurance salesmen, pharmacists and police officers. Hidden in their desks, beat up old file cabinets, and computers are a treasure trove of fantasy worlds, wrenching crime dramas, and history books that rival anything on a collegiate syllabus.
For some, this is an acceptable life. They paid their bills, took care of their families, and with the time left over accomplished something that was a personal milestone. If you are reading this, I have to imagine that you are interested in actually publishing your work and so this future is not a palatable option for you.
Bearing this in mind, I know for a fact just by looking over the stats on this blog, that those people that do manage to make it here on purpose look at the category “Rejected” more than any other. This says to me, “Tell us how you deal with rejection?”
This is why I am not successful. After writing so passionately about unstoppable drive and will, I stood there in my sea foam green shower last night thinking and realized I don’t have any. With the exception of last year, I haven’t really followed through and the reason for that…fear.
I talk a big game about how hard I am working and do produce written material but that’s not the whole job and I know it. Do you know how many times in my life I have actually been rejected over my creative endeavors?
Taking out the TOR incident with my terrible first novel, (which was really a friend of friend kinda thing and in reality my manuscript would have never gotten on that poor editors desk without it) as well as the City Pages incident (which was more a rejection of me as a person not as an artist because they never really gave me a chance to do what I do best), the count is actually seven times.
Every other opportunity I have been given to write; be it the community or collegiate paper, Blogcritics…whatever, I have knocked it out of the park. But those opportunities have been few and far between so like everyone else out there I have hidden behind my bravado and words, never allowing myself to be tested by the true slings and arrows of rejection.
I have avoided that moment where the hundred and thousands of rejections talked about by the good and greats in the industry flow through my inbox like a raging torrent. Rejection on that level is more frightening in my mind than the thought of Cujo + me trapped in a tiny room.
You know you feel it too…That unbearable ick you get every time you get close to finishing a piece or if you actually get the guts up to send it off. It can manifest itself as subtly as continually polishing a query letter or out right panic attacks freezing you physically in place.
What we need to do as writers is banish this fear from our lives. We must stop seeing the process as feeding ourselves to some uncaring machine.
There is only one path to success in this industry, perseverance. We live in a time where digital communication has opened up the world for any writer with talent. Bands are recording whole albums with the help of iPads, movies are being made at a fraction of the budget Hollywood has convinced us has to be spent, and writers are in a better position than ever to escape from the oppressive system that has kept so many from ever coming close to achieving their dreams. Don’t believe me, ask Felicia Day and the folks at Geek and Sundry on YouTube.
Banishing the fear, take away its power, and realize our own. Let’s try to achieve these goals together this year by facing that fear in any way you can imagine. Blog, novel, short stories, script, movie, self-publishing, YouTube, Tumblr, Instamatic, Twitter, Facebook…Just find a way.