Friday, February 22, 2008

The Ups and Downs of Writing

The writing business is like an emotional sea. It definitely has its peaks and troughs. Many things take us to the crest of a wave—
The feeling of satisfaction when you finish a long, hard project.
Getting a personalized rejection letter from a respected editor or agent who compliments your work.
Getting a contract offer.
Receiving a phone call from an agent wanting to represent you.
Receiving a surprisingly high royalty check in the mail.
Getting an email or letter from a child telling you how much they loved your story.
These are all good things that keep us going. They take us to the pinnacle of that wave and let us feel like Neptume, in control of the sea.

But we can’t always ride the crest now, can we? Call it yin and yang, the balancing of the universe, or in my case, sliding down into the trough of the wave, but whatever you call it, there are those things that don’t make us feel quite as uplifted—
Your computer goes bonkers and eats your story that you’ve worked on for eight months.
You get a form letter rejection from an editor for whom you felt a lot of optimism.
Your dream agent declines to represent you after requesting to read your full manuscript.
You hear from an editor that your manuscript had made it quite far in the editorial selection process, but was just shy of being accepted.
You eagerly anticipate your first royalty check, only to discover it will barely buy you a cup of coffee and an espresso brownie at Starbucks.
You get a bad review.

This list could go on, couldn’t it? We’ve all had our ups and downs. Now, before you start thinking this is a big old whine-fest, let me say there’s a point. I’m curious to hear how other writers handle the “troughs” of writing. I don’t mean writer’s block or writer’s blahs; I mean how you handle those disappointments that make you stop in your tracks and question things. Personally, I have a few different coping methods—sometimes I just shake it off within a few minutes, sometimes a long walk puts things into perspective, sometimes indulging in my favorite chocolate helps (well, it helps my mind, but not my hips).



What do YOU do to get out of the troughs and work through the disappointments in writing? Make a comment--I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

Christine Fletcher said...

Hi, Terry--I'm a little late commenting, I just found your blog. I think the biggest thing I was unprepared for is how much of a roller coaster a writing career is! For me, my day job helps; I'm a veterinarian, which keeps me pretty grounded. Since life isn't all about writing and publishing, I can usually shake the bad stuff off fairly quickly. For the really bad stuff, there's cheese popcorn.

Chris Fletcher
www.christinefletcherbooks.com