It was last night after dinner. I don’t remember the time because I wasn’t interested in capturing it for posterity. There was a lot going on all at once, a confluence of confusion.
—I was advised by e-mail that I needed to reformat a contest entry, only to scrupulously determine it was formatted correctly, which required me to politely advise the judge accordingly so as to prevent any pre-judging prejudice.
—Going through old e-mails, I found a chain from an editor I met at a conference last year who graciously (perhaps to pacify me) accepted the first twenty pages of a novel, never communicated back with me, and then when I sent a follow-up in an apologetic tone (yeah, I apologized for not following up earlier) still did not respond. That second one was four months ago.
—Another e-mail chain, this one with an agent. Similar situation except the response to the follow-up (same apologetic tone) was that the submission still had not been read. Again, four months ago.
—Realized I hadn’t gotten back to editing my historical crime fiction that I put aside shortly before the holidays, which are over. Still haven’t started editing a very special project that I believe in for a friend who has a great idea. Don’t want to let him down after the encouragement I gave.
—Continued research on new laptop. Found one. Indication only available for in-store pick up. Entered zip code. No stores in a 250 mile radius. (Similar research produced similar results.)
out of the blue
in my head
WHY AM I DOING ALL THIS? MAYBE I SHOULD JUST GIVE UP BEING A WRITER.
As soon as the words formed in my head, as soon as I could hear them inside me, something sharp and acidic burned them away. But there it was, for one fleeting moment, the drudgery and formalities and logistics were overwhelming. Yet, it went away just as quickly because of the one thought that profoundly yelled at me:
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?
All the research, communication, queries, follow-ups, writing and revising, fitting all of this into a packed life, this is what it is about. I might never get another book published. Right now, since this is not my living (although I would very much like to make it be), I write because it is a compulsion. I write because I have to write because the stories inside me have to be told. I write to express myself in ways that I am unable to do in the “real world” and to hold a mirror up to others and, yes, even to myself.
So, judges and editors and agents, go ahead and do your thing. I’m okay with it. I’m going to continue submitting my work. I’m going to get back to my novel. I’m going to work on that project for my friend. I’m going to move on to a new, as-yet-unidentified project.
I am going to keep writing.
I am not going to stop.