Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Writing Part In All This

I'm fairly open about my struggles with the writing journey, but today I wanted to make it clear that the main reason I keep going is this: I love it.

I really do. I love to write. We're probably all the same way. All the publishing stuff, yeah, it's frustrating and daunting and sometimes even unfair, but the actual act of writing a story (for the most part), is a joyful, rewarding experience.

I am totally in love with my WIP, House Of Ivy And Sorrow. I am writing when I shouldn't, sneaking in paragraphs here and there when the kids let me. It's always there in my mind, as I play with the plot and characters and possibilities. It's so new, and it's been so long since I just messed around. I wish I could write and write. It's freaking awesome.

That's why submission scares me so much, I think. Yes, there's that fear of failure and rejection, but the worst mistake I made on my first round of sub was losing sight of why I was trying to get published in the first place. It was so hard to enjoy writing when my confidence was being challenged daily. I don't know what it is, but I have to be feeling good about myself and my writing to put out words. Discovering that your beloved novel isn't marketable? Not so great for the self-esteem.

I have felt really great these last few months. I'm not even sure I can express it, but the words have been flowing. I'm in a groove. I love what I'm writing and even editing, and sitting down to work is more like sitting down to play.

That is not something I want to lose. To which you might say, "Then don't lose it, silly! Focus on your writing when you're on sub. Don't think about that book—it's out in the world and you can't control what happens." Et cetera and so forth. Oh, how I wish it was that easy. But it's not. It is in no way easy to just forget about that book I slaved over for approaching two years, to say, "Hey, yeah, I put all that work in and it may not pan out and I'm SO okay with that!" It takes time to get there, because as much as you tell yourself that, you still really, really want it to happen. There is no way not to want it. There is no way to just move on. Yes, you can distract yourself, but it's still there in the back of your mind. The waiting. The wanting.

So yeah, sub is not the best state for maintaining writing confidence. That doesn't mean I won't try, because, oh, do I have a plan already in place. But I'm so worried I'll lose my groove, even with all the lessons learned.

That is the worst—when writing becomes the enemy. It should never be the enemy, but I guess it's that whole "there's a fine line between love and hate" thing. I never want to go to that bad place again, but is it something that always comes with sub or was it just another one of my rookie mistakes?

I don't know the answer to that question, which is why it's all so stressful, I suppose.

But right now I am writing. And I am loving writing. And I'm trying to soak in every moment so I can remember what it feels like, so I can call upon those memories when things get hard. Because despite everything, that's why I'm here: the writing.

If I forget that, go ahead and give me a swift kick.


  1. I love this. I know the feeling of joy you're talking about and it's what keeps me coming back again and again. Happy writing!!!!

  2. If it weren't for being able to write I think I might really be insane. I hope one day I get published but I put myself in the frame of mind that if I did that would just be a bonus, because just being able to write is the greatest gift.

  3. So glad you're in a happy writing place!! :-) When I was on sub I kept writing, but it was never as good as the writing I did when I wasn't bracing for another rejection. There were so many things about this post that struck home for me. Thanks. :-)

  4. i meant to post yesterday but life happened. :) You are one talented lady and a hard worker. I honestly don't know how mommy writers do it, but you. are. amazing. And it's clear just from the blog that you love to write, which means, eventually, you'll get published. I hope no matter what happens this time around that you won't give up. I also hope awesome things happen this time around, and I can't tell you how much it means to us unpublished hopefuls that you have opened up about the reality of what you go through as a writer. It makes a huge difference, and I'm grateful. Sorry that you've been through Writer Hell, but truly grateful that you've had the heart to keep going and to share your struggles with us. It helps.

  5. Yay!! I love the honesty with which you write. And I'm happy you are at the excited part of writing for the moment. If you ever do figure out the answer, let us know. Meanwhile...I'll have my boots ready for kicking. ;)
    My Blog

  6. I've been following these series of posts with interest and just wanted to send you a little note. You are so courageous. I have so much gratitude and respect for you for putting your story out there, in all its honesty. I am cheering for you all the way and will celebrate with you and be sad with you.

    But don't forget that by doing this blog, you are giving so much amazingly honest (didn't I say that already) advice. Love it!

    Yours is my FAVORITE author blog. Thank you. And never quit writing.

    And yes, you are an author.

  7. I agree with the rest of the comments, and I also wanted to tell you: every time you mention a book idea you've had my heart leaps for joy.


    Just the tiny taste of "House of Ivy and Sorrow" you've given me has set my imagination on fire. I am so depressed when I realize that it will be YEARS before I can find out what happens in that book. Because I want to know soooooo very badly.

    I cannot image how hard it is on your self esteem to be on submission. Heck, I wimped out just by over dosing on publishing blogs, and had to step back for perspective. But I want you to know that you are a fabulous writer, and your story ideas have the power to keep me awake at night, wondering what's going to happen. I will buy your book the minute it comes out.

    If your self esteem gets low while you're on submission, just post and let us know. I will be more then happy to remind you how awesome you are and how much you've helped me be a better writer.

  8. Aww, yay! This made me smile. I love reading about other writer's happiness, because I know how beautiful that happiness can be. I totally understand what you're saying about the sub processes, and as I'm planning for it, I've had my own moments of doubt. But I think that as long as you know in your heart that you can't live without writing, you will always come back to it, and you will always love it in the end.

    <3 Gina Blechman

  9. I'm only in the querying process and I also decided to start a new WIP - primarily to keep myself happy and almost sane.

    I have to say, the strategy is working beautifully. So much so that I'm almost bored with all the querying and occasionally I think to myself "You know, I should just write and not worry with the insanity and frustration and arbitrariness of the publishing industry."

    Sometimes I even mean it.

  10. You are so brave, putting your feelings and insecurities out there for all of us to see and relate to. Loving writing will get you through, because that is why you will be published! I wish you all the best on submission.

  11. Yay for writing! Just keep enjoying what you do and things will work out when you least expect it.

  12. Natalie:
    I agree with you one hundred percent about the love of writing, and yet I must admit that I find myself a bit freaked out when I think about submission.
    I am not quite ready to begin that daunting process of query letters, but lately those are the main blogs I find myself reading. One thing I have learned is the importance of doing exactly what you are doing. Do NOT stop writing during that process.

    I think I may have subconsciously begun to gear up for that process too. I am not quite finished editing my novel, and I've already started the sequel. And then, I started a completely new WIP! I think that once I do get my book "out there" I'm hoping to keep myself SO BUSY that I can squash that fear of rejection bug which could send all my creative juices into a deep freeze.
    Cynthia: If I can't write, I too will go nuts! :)
    Find me at:http://color-me-read.blogspot.com/

  13. I'm still working on my first WIP (fan fiction really, but I thought it would be a good way to practice before writing my own book), so I haven't gotten to "sub" mode yet. I hope that my enjoyment of writing doesn't begin to falter once I begin the submission process. Scary to think about.

  14. Your struggles, so freely given and shared, have helped me appreciate this union of writers. I look forward to seeing your WIP. I am 'combing for nits' in my own WIP, and it is sometimes painful. Susan

  15. You can *never* pretend that the piece on submission doesn't exist--there ain't no way that's gonna happen. But the fact that you're in a creative, good writing space bodes very well for the health of your psyche. =)

    Don't get disheartened. You're doing fantastic (note everyone here loves you).

  16. This is an excellent reminder that we do it because we love it -- and you are right. Querying is scary and can be disheartening. Submitting is also scary and can be even more disheartening. Publishing is a fantastic high -- followed by the terror of review, sales figures, and whether or not anyone will buy any more of your books. In fact, you could spend the entire journey of writing paralyzed by fear.

    The best thing to do is to try to find a switch in your brain to TURN OFF all the stuff happening outside your control ... and love your writing.

    Thanks for the pep talk!

  17. I'm glad to see you've posted today! I believe you understand that you may be unpublished right now, but you have the respect and gratitude of many for your forthrightness and willingness to tell it like it is.

    I'm nearing the end of major revisions myself, checking for typos and the query is written. An editor from Disney-Hyperion commended my summary and said she totally got a feel for my story and characters but I'm still nervous to press SEND!

    I'm at the very beginning of the journey, but I suspect it can be rather nerve-wracking no matter what stage we're at.

    Just remember, we may write alone, but we're hardly really alone as we make a grab for the brass ring that is publishing. God bless and the very best to all of us...

  18. I so needed to read this today. Thank you for your honesty and candor, and best of luck to you with all the steps that are waiting for you on your journey.

  19. Glad you are enjoying writing. Hope you can hang onto that during the ups and downs of submitting. Good luck!

  20. I LOVE that you are so happy and in love with your WIP! It's awesome to see you loving writing :)

    And soon I will be there to give you a swift kick IN PERSON. *gasps*

  21. Natalie, I love you! I just...LOVE you! You're one of the most awesome writing people in the history of the world.

    You are.


  22. Writing is difficult work. Whether you're published, unpublished, or just starting out.

    I am editing and polishing up my three recently finished novels and writing two new ones at the same time. I may never find a publisher or an agent, but I love it. It is my passion. No my obsession!

    So, thank you for sharing. Your posts always remind me not to give up hope...

  23. I loved your writing style. I believe writing is not so difficult because it comes straight from the heart.