Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stop the Bleeding

So my therapist says to me, “It’s going to be a roller coaster ride of painful emotions. Just when you think you’re alright, something will rattle you.”

And of course I wondered, “For how long?”

“It’s different for everybody…and it won’t necessarily go neat and orderly. Once you think you’ve put a stage behind you, something will open a new wound and send you right back to the drawing board.”

Great. So I get to look forward to more of these panic attacks where my heart rails so badly that I envision it to be a hooked fish flopping around in a boat.

Then my therapist says, “But the good news is it’s going to get better and better.”

All the while, I’m clenching my teeth, tightening my buns, and…aw hell, I’ll admit it…crying. And I reiterate mentally: everything is going to be okay. There’s lots of good stuff going on in your life.

Which is true—just not the way I’d like for it all to be going.

That brings me to the topic that hopefully will benefit aspiring authors out there. Yeah, as a segue, I used my implied trauma that I mentioned in my last posting on the Rock (which I still have a fear of admitting to the world), but I realized that there were some striking similarities between my up-hill climb right now and this question that I believe plagues every writer out there trying to get published: when will I be good enough to get the deal?  

Sure as taxes, I used to wonder this constantly. I’d kill myself to rewrite chapters, take them to a critique group, and absorb every bit of advice they’d share, devour books on the craft of writing, and all the while ask: what is it going to take for me to finally be polished enough?

The answer is: it’s going to be a roller coaster ride of rejections. Just when you think you’re making progress because an editor or agent requested your stuff within 24 hours of submission, they wind up passing on it. (Yes, that happened to me…or I guess I should say to me and my agent).

Also, this is another truth to the answer: it’s different for everybody and won’t necessarily go in a neat order.

So the best advice I can offer these days as I hang on is: be patient, meditate, do what you got to do and don’t worry about things out of your control. Your writing’s going to get better and better. Somewhere up the road--just like I’ll be healed--you’ll get your validation.

Gusto

1 comment:

Julie Luek said...

Great advice, Dave. I appreciate you sharing from a place of honesty and painful experience. I needed to be reminded that it is a roller coaster ride and completely different for everyone. Our path to where we need to be is unique, and I'm guess although the road there is rougher for some than others, it's never easy.