Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Getting it out of my system

Entertainers are sorta notorious for being moody, and being a little crazy, and saying things they maybe shouldn't. But the more I hang around the industry, the more I realise that authors have an eternal gag order. It's more of an issue after publication, but it's still a factor before you even query.

Recently, I've seen a few authors come out of the literary closet on how hard it was/is to query/go on submission/wait for their pub date/be mid list, etc. And I sympathised. Then I thought: Some day, that might just be me.

So I've decided to write letters to myself. Because, as we say in Barbados, I don't like to hide my mouth. And because I'm strong, but I'm a sensitive artistic soul as well. And it's probably going to hurt when I get there. And I probably won't be able to talk about it. But if I've got these letters here, then I can always come back here and know I've declared my hand for the world to see.

DEAR QUERY TRENCHES ME,

That story rocks. I know you've polished and polished it til it sparkled like a merpire. You read and re-read 'til you mixed up your imaginary scenes with your real life. You've passed it around for critique and taken it with a grain of salt, and made the novel the absolute best-est you have in you.

I know it's hard to wait until some agent deigns to look at you. Even though you know that they are just regular people who bleed red and read even more than you do, it's hard not to feel like they've got all the power. Not to feel like you're nothing. Not to feel like you're worthless. Not to feel like you'll never take the next step.

You will.

You're awesome!

DEAR SUBMISSION ME,
And you thought grabbing an agent's attention was hard. The channel just gets narrower and narrower every step of the way. Sigh. And you know editors are busy, but, seriously, why is this taking so long? And don't they know you're dieing inside? Your agent loves my book. You know it's good. Maybe you're crazy. Maybe you both are. Because editors know their stuff and if noone wants it, it's pretty bad.

I know you want to curl up and crawl under a rock, but don't forget this industry is slower than chilled molasses. The wheels may be turning, even if not at the pace you want them to. And even if they're not, even if this one won't be the one that you get to claim "real writerhood" with, this isn't a board game. If you mess up on one turn, you don't have to wait until all the other players get their turn, 'til you can go again.

Take a break. Do something you love. And work on the next project. You may need it. Because the other option is giving up. And that's not really an option.

Not for awesome people like you, anyways.

DEAR WAITING FOR PUBLICATION DATE ME,
They told you that time travel was impossible. They said time couldn't move backwards. They were wrong. Because no matter how long you wait, your pub date isn't here. It's been forever since you got THE CALL. And since the bloodbath that was edits.

Still, nothing.

Time is scientific. Every second the same length. Perception on the other hand is eviller than Cruella DeVille. Perception makes you swear that the clock ticks backwards, but it doesn't. And soon there will be shiny ARCs with covers and you can take pictures doing ridiculous things with your new almost-baby. And then there will buzz at conferences and on whatever new forum of social interaction is the new Geocities. And then your book will burst forth into literature-dom!

Yay YOU! You are still awesome.

DEAR THIS IS NOT THE WAY THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE ME:
Having a good head on your shoulders means nothing. You know. You know that 1 in a million- literally- gets to be the next Rowling or Meyer or King. 1 in a million gets to have every literate person in the world know their name. 1 in a million gets to buy a mansion in The Heights or The Hills.

You were kind of hoping that one would be you.

It isn't.

You've know the odds were against it all along, but you still hoped. You still dreamed. It's okay. It's your job to dream. It's not exactly like you hoped it would be. Maybe you don't have millions flocking to your website. Or lining up at midnight for your releases. Or dressing in costume for your films - which were never even optioned.

But you know what you do have? A byline. Your name. On the cover of a book. Shouting for all the world to hear.

I DID THIS.

You're still awesome.

With Love,
Claire Dawn

6 comments:

E.J. Wesley said...

Phenomenal post, Claire. And a doggone good idea. DIY pep-talk!

Marsha Sigman said...

You really are awesome.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now you are prepared for reality!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I love this! A wonderful pep-talk for all the stages of the process! One of them applies to me right now, so I'm gonna go read that one again.

P.S. Love the phrase "I don't like to hide my mouth!"

LinWash said...

I agree with the other posters. What a great idea! And yes, you are still awesome.

Michael Offutt said...

Could you write me some letters please :))? I need a pick me up. lol.