Wednesday, June 17, 2009
A SAD DAY FOR A CRESTFALLEN WRITER
We’ve all heard it said, from the writer’s point of view, that this is “A Bunny Eat Bunny World,” and you know it’s true. This is not an easy profession we’ve entered into and only a few select authors can manage to support themselves with a full-time gig. I am not one of them. In fact, one day last week, I woke with the horrible conviction that it was time for me to throw in the towel. Why I felt that way, and why the feeling was so strong, I don’t know. Although there have been times in the past where the struggle toward publication felt like an uphill battle, I never reached the point where I was ready to quit; until last week. What changed? Nothing. Is my career hopeless? Maybe.
My track record is better than some and worse than others. I’ve a handful of magazine articles to my name, my first picture book (NATURE’S LULLABY) released last fall and as of today, I have three others being held for consideration at major houses. There is not a day that goes by I don’t do some form of work toward getting my manuscripts and name out there. My husband and family are very supportive and I belong to many great groups who share my passion. I also pray real hard that success will come my way. And let it be known I’m not greedy. I don’t need to be responsible for the next Harry Potter, or Twilight series. I just want my work to reach the children. I know that sounds corny, but it is truly how I feel. I read lots and lots of books. Most of which are YA and PB, and let me tell you, I’ve run across quite a few stinkers in the bunch. How often have you read a book that really sucks and you wonder how on earth this person ever found someone to publish it? How often have you thought, “My stuff is way better than this?” Those are the times that seem to push me under the furthest. Even my children give me similar sentiments after reading a particularly boring or just plain senseless book.
“Mom, why can’t you get published? You’re stuff is way better than this junk!”
Although I know they mean it as a good thing, that simple comment does major damage to my writing psyche. I mean, why IS this crap making it to print while mine sits dejectedly on an editor’s desk? When will my ship come in? Of course, the economy doesn’t help and the major slump in picture book sales doesn’t do much for my career either. But none of it explains my sudden urge to give up my writing career and my quest for publication. As the day progressed, my mood did not lighten. In fact, if anything, a dark pallor settled upon me and I shied away from the computer and books and any of the things connected with the industry. Bunny eat bunny, indeed. I felt like I had been chewed up and spit out by Peter and Benjamin Bunny both.
When my work time rolled around,(daughter’s nap time)I realized it was time to take a good hard look at myself and my work. Admittedly, some of my manuscripts could use another revision, but some of them are spot on. As I sat amidst the gloom of my shaded bedroom ignoring all media outlets, I thought about those manuscripts that don’t need more work. The ones I truly believe are ready. These works of mine were composed of passion and a burning need to create. I realized I couldn’t stop writing if I tried. And why bother writing if it is not for the world to see? No, I am NOT ready to give up. Perseverance is key. With a little luck, a lot of persistence and the talent I know I possess, I will get more bites, I will see my work in print and I will not be quitting anytime soon! So, bunny eat bunny, or dog eat dog, I am the alpha and I refuse to lose.
So now, with new conviction, I have forced my doubts aside. I will keep moving forward against a tide which keeps pushing me back. Because I know my stuff is worthy and one day I will find that editor or agent who believes it too.
Now, my only hope is that the day comes while I’m still living and breathing. It would be just my luck that my writing finally comes to fruition posthumously in an Emily Dickenson sort of way. I guess I am still holding on to a few teensy weensy doubts. But hey, I’m still writing; are you?