Writing is my release. It’s what I have always used, from a young age to express myself and to work out stresses within my life that I wasn’t all that comfortable saying out loud. I did it before I ever really connected with the joy of reading – getting lost in someone else’s story. Lisa Frank made a lot of money off of my journal purchases. Then, once I’d filled the pages with my most inner thoughts, some real, some fiction… I’d throw them away.
I threw away a LOT of my writing. Not because I didn’t like it, but it was another part of that “release” that I got out of getting the feelings out.
I never considered myself a writer. Those were cool people, people who had other people pay them for what they wrote. Not me – definitely not me. That wasn’t even on my radar of possibilities.
Aptitude tests were the bane of my existence. I had no freakin’ clue what I wanted to do with my life in middle school OR high school. I didn’t REALLY know until my junior year of college.
Yes… Junior Year Of College You know, the one right before senior year when you’re supposed to graduate? That one – which the switch of majors caused me to do a 5th year but that’s neither here nor there NOW considering I just spent the better part of the last hour scrubbing human shit from panties and swallowing the urge to vomit after watching my dog lick a rogue turd. (Not the first time this has happened in our house – totally killing this mom thing.)
While many of my classmates have gone on to become much cooler humans than I ever hope to be – traveling the world, doing super smart things in jobs that completely intimidate me, starting businesses, filing taxes, all the adult things that still seem foreign to me even though I, too, am an adult.
I know my world – I feel that I do a fairly decent job of making sure my children don’t grow up to be entitled little shits and know their colors and numbers and when they move on to harder math/science type things, they have their dad… which is a solid 45% why I married him. BUT – THIS world is mine. I don’t need to have a lot of things to feel complete in it, I don’t require a lot, but the one thing I cannot live without is the ability to create.
When I finally convinced myself that I was not too tired to write my first novel, that it didn’t matter what people thought about me writing my first novel, that I could still be a good wife and mother while embarking on this endeavor… I did it and it felt good.
WAS it good? I think so – I liked it – I hope others did as well… but I did it because I felt compelled to. I couldn’t sleep at night thinking about it, and to me, if anything keeps you up at night that would make you feel the way this journey has made me… you HAVE to find a way to do it.
I self-published for a number of reasons – and believe me it was not my first choice. Every writer has that idea in their mind that “Sure it’ll be hard, but if I’m patient, an agent or publisher will jump ALL over it!” What we learn over time is that it requires MUCH more patience than we can imagine. And not only patience but a confidence and belief in our work that just does not come natural to the average human being.
Many people turn in a resume to 10? 20? 100? places… they get interviews, second, third, seventh ones… eventually they find a job and on goes the race to ultimate success. However, in this industry, so many writers are hit with a unique brand of resistance. Agents and publishers are incredibly picky, they receive hundreds of queries a day and if you don’t stick out at the right time, in the right way, with the right story… your stack of rejections becomes heavier and heavier. To be told that your heart and soul, something you’ve worked countless hours to complete “isn’t a right fit” can be devastating to say the least. It’s take a lot of self-reflection to understand that rejections aren’t personal and that giving up just means your heart wasn’t in it to begin with. That this isn’t your passion. Because if it was… you’d write for nothing.
I did not get to hire an editor for my first novel because I did not have a budget for one. So all of what I made from that – covered one for my second novel. My goal is not to be famous, it’s to connect to people… to have them read my words and enjoy them. And if I’m taking precious time from people (friends/family/strangers) I want to give them the best possible work that I can.
My second novel is still sitting on my hard drive. I’ve since received 9 out of 17 rejections – all of which I save, which if you follow my insta-stories I talked about how saving them keeps me motivated. They no longer make me second-guess myself nor do I fall into a deep sadness. I’m disappointed, sometimes tears of frustration will come… but that time I allow myself is shorter and shorter because A. my kids will not see me crying over this and B. the more time I’m feeling sorry for myself, the less time I am spending on this thing I love to do.
I read for inspiration. I read because feeling those stories through other authors is beautiful. It’s an experience I long for and strive to give to readers. But writing is my first love and it has made me a better me. Having this outlet makes me feel more at ease with myself, my life, my parenting. I want for nothing because everything my husband and I envisioned for ourselves, we have and/or are working toward together and that is what I remind myself in those few minutes I feel sad about the rejections that come.
I am battling now with whether or not I will go ahead and self publish The Quiet Ones. I’m not in this for fame but I also watch other writers getting that deal and envying them in the best ways. But then, I see them struggling as well! They beat themselves up about sales, about turnouts to signings, about reviews… it’s HARD… no matter what stage you’re at!
Which is comforting, honestly.
I told myself I’d give it until the end of the year to decide – and if nothing, I may go ahead and do it. Because this one is a bit better than the last, and hopefully the next one will be a bit better than that one and so on. I’m just so happy to have the opportunity to do what I love the way I love to do it. I’m content in this humble corner I’ve carved for myself and I’m OK being a “nobody” as people scroll the pages on Amazon. If anyone reads what I do, and enjoys it – I consider it a great success.