So. I started this blog by recounting a certain mini-life/writing-breakdown I had. The instigator of said breakdown was a lovely, encouraging letter I got from Kristin Nelson saying she didn’t think my manuscript was right for their agency. My reactions were:
a) brilliant! I have a real life rejection letter, ergo I am a real life writer!!!; and
b) it’s quite disappointing I suppose, but they were very positive, and if I’m not for them, then they’re probably not for me either.
Then there was the reaction that worked on my subconscious like a deep, sucking tide, which was:
c) here lie the dark pits of abject despair (or: Oh dear, I’m never going to be published).
I have since dragged myself back up, and recognised that although it’s important to be positive about rejection, it’s also important to acknowledge disappointment.
So I’m back on the horse, working my way through words and structures and plot and characters. Then today I get back 2,000 words that my lovely tutor Sonia Orchard had marked up.
If you’ve ever had a piece marked up by a pro, you know how confronting that is. All the “I don’t know what you mean”, “the gap between his eyes, or her lips?” and “I’m completely confused about the seating arrangement”s.
It’s not that she was harsh or unfair – and that’s kinda the problem. It’s that most of what she said makes sense to me, and it’s so incredibly exhausting looking at this writing I’ve already spent hours on, knowing that it’s only just an outline really, considering all the rewriting I have to do.
(Look at that long, convoluted sentence! No wonder she accused me of overwriting!)
So. What I’m saying is this:
We all know writing and becoming a writer is really, really hard. But that is a completely different thing to it actually being hard – to this feeling right now that everything I’m working for just might be impossible. And maybe I should make my way to the closest bank branch and fill out an application form.
Like any act of faith, perseverance is most difficult right when it’s most necessary.
Never give up, never die!
I’ll send you some of my crap and then you can feel much better about your abilities!
Dad told me a story of Winston
Churchil — which you might know and which I might have misconstrued. He was invited to be the guest speaker at a school function. Everyone waited to hear his speech with much anticipation. He took the podium, looked around, sized up his audience and gave his speech:
“Never, never, never give up!”
and sat down.