Here’s the thing about writing, or being a fiction writer; with a very few well publicized exceptions, it’s a long, potholed, overcrowded road. Most of those overnight sensations don’t really make it to the bestseller lists overnight, it just seems that way to those standing in the bookstore deciding what to buy.
A lot of people think they want to be writers, but they don’t write. Or they don’t stick with it long enough to do the learning necessary to turn their work into something resembling a manuscript. Some give up after one or two manuscripts that don’t sell, or x number of rejections, or x amount of time. A lot of others do, and with work, perseverance, and luck they get published. And then there are the long haulers.
People like me, who haven’t “hit” for whatever reason, but have gotten just enough encouragement and positive feedback on their work to keep going. I don’t mean “my spouse likes it,” “my mom likes it,” “my third grade teacher told me I should be a writer,” or form rejections they’ve read and projected meaning into. But people who supposedly have knowledge and experience of writing and the publishing world have read their work and said “keep trying, you’ve got something.” And we do.
A long fucking haul. If you’re a long haul trucker, you know you’re going to be tired, might get caught in traffic jams that leave your bladder spasming, and screw up your schedule. But eventually, you’re going to reach your destination. And then you’ll load up and do it again.
Hemorrhoids will just be part of the job, and you’ll learn to sleep when you can in the cab of the truck, drink battery acid masquerading as coffee, and make sure you’re always stocked up on Preparation H.
But writing isn’t long haul trucking, the analogy leaves more than a little gap. There’s no certain paycheck, no benefits, and no one pats you on the back in respect for honest and honorable work. Plenty of hemorrhoids, though. Swollen, throbbing, painful pustules that make you wince when you open that Word document. They come in the guise of writer’s block, rejection letters, plot holes, awkward expressions on the face of your significant other, and plain old moments of why-the-fuck-am-I-doing-this. Is it dishonorable to keep writing after x amount of time, or x amount of rejections? Is it dishonest? I’m not talking about people who say they write for themselves (God love you, but I’d rather earn my piles having another baby–and trust me, the last thing I want is any more babies), but those who continue to pursue publication.
If you’re another long hauler, please chime in here in the comments section, and let me know what your thoughts are. What’s the donut pillow that gets your butt behind the wheel, again and again?
I’m not a long hauler. I am opinionated though and will chime in anyway! I admire your tenacity, your stick-with-it-ness and hope that your patience and endurance will pay off.
LOL, I always love when you chime in, Diana 🙂
And I hope so, too. 😉
Love this post! I guess my doughnut pillow is that when everything’s weighed out, writing is much more pleasure than pain. That, and the fact that I’m horribly unsuited for everything else. 🙂
I swing back and forth re the pleasure/pain. Sometimes I think being a writer should come with a diagnostic code. 😉
lol, yes, that whole unsuited to practical endeavors adds a twist, doesn’t it?
I’ve been thinking I am probably an imposter. Far from a long-hauler, I really only write when I feel like it and lately that is not all that often. When I do attempt to assert self discipline bla bla, I only end up churning out dreck, or it seems so to me.
Later on, at some point, I’ll feel different though. 🙂 Your question is poignant and I have no answers for this conundrum at all. I do feel that many of us are in that place in one way or another, that place of wondering what the heck?
I’m glad to know you, whatever happens with any of the rest of it all.
Now you’ve made me feel all warm and squishy.
Everyone has their own way. Seems to me writers who “hit” get there via different paths.
Funny, when I posted this, I realized Fringelings may read and think I’ve gotten a bajillion rejections on the work I’m querying, when in fact, I’ve only sent a handful so far. I pressed “publish” on the post thinking this is good, I want to continue to be slow with the querying. Then I saw agents were tweeting their manuscript wish lists today (#MSWL), and sent three queries, lol.
I can tell you that for me, when I force myself to write x amt of words per day, I can expect to see many words of suckage. But after a certain amt of days, it gets better.
Also, happy, happy birthday! xoxo
I made you feel warm and squishy? Me? Gee, maybe I’m a writer after all.
And thanks for the birthday wishes. If having excellent companions on the way, such as yourself, brings happiness, then I have it made in the shade and any other weather the Universe may throw at us.
Here’s to a few dreams coming true onea these days soon.
I hope you were able to see some beautiful flowers and indulge in a decadent cake today.
I have no idea or frame of reference to understand what a writer goes through, but I can say that as an artist, I need to make art. I don’t think of it as doing it for myself, I just think of doing it to be myself. I work in graphic design so I work in a creative environment, but that doesn’t cut it, I need to be creative on my own terms. I need to sign off on my work. It is something that I must get out or my life is not as full.
Writing seems like so much more work than art and having done the NaNo thing I have a huge appreciation for those who do that every day all year long.
Interesting perspective. I think much of the art/work question depends on the form you use, and how much you’re doing it for yourself vs for others/sale/publication.
Well selling my work is the dream, I do it now and then – I think it is very similar to writing in that you have catch the attention of the right person to get your work out there. I’ve thought a lot about the pieces you were writing to pitch your stories (I forgot what they were called) – framing the story, I wonder what the equivalent is for something visual, or if something like that could even work.
Queries. I’m not an art gal, but I don’t think there is an equivalent. Maybe someone familiar with both worlds will weigh in.