|Me, not even a year ago (May 21, 2013), with my debut|
novel at the bookstore, all signed and official.
(Yeah it's blurry but it's the only pic I have.)
Friday night was a particular mess, since I had to say goodbye to my parents and little sister, who moved all the way across country to Florida. They have always been within a 10-20 minute drive, and now…all my immediate family is either in New Zealand or Florida. And here I am in Utah, a little bit adrift.
But anyway, as I was crying and mad at the world, I kept thinking, "Man, what the crap is WRONG with me? Yeah, it's all hard, but at the same time I'm way more angry and upset than this merits."
And then the thought came to mind: "Oh yeah…I'm on sub."
Being on submission to editors is kind of like having a little monster on your back that gets heavier and heavier the longer it's there. Sometimes you hardly notice its presence, and other times it gets heavier and you remember what you're carrying and it all feels so crushing you just want to push it off and move on at normal speed.
That weight? It makes you cranky. It makes you sad. Sometimes you don't realize that little monster is the root of the problem, but it often is. Every time I've been on sub (and that's been many times now), I become a worse person. It's the depressing truth.
I feel like such a failure. Every pass is like that little monster getting heavier. Yes, even though I have three books coming out before I reach one year of being a published author, I feel like a total FAILURE. It's ridiculous. (But not uncommon, I believe.)
I know it's not rational, but all the "this was great but not right for me" and "your books aren't meeting expectation" and "I didn't connect with the mc" and "I felt like the plot relied too much on The Issues" (whatever that means)…it gets to you. You move past it for the most part, but there are days when they sneak up on you, all the little monsters in the forest following you around and waiting for you to look back and remember they're right behind you.
So as if sub isn't stressful enough, I have my family leaving me and another book releasing in three weeks and a rough draft I'm trying to FINISH in that three weeks. No wonder I'm such a wreck, right?
You have to cut yourself some slack during these times, remember that while you don't WANT sub to hurt—it just adds up. The weight gets heavier and heavier. So be kind to yourself. Try to remember how far you've come, even if it seems impossible to get where you want to be. I've been pulling out old pictures like this one above to remind me of my journey, both the good and bad parts.
And maybe more importantly, warn the people in your life that you will likely be cranky during this time. Tell them about the heavy monster on your back. Maybe they can't carry it for you, but they can support you along the way if they know it's there.