I’m on hiatus from novel-writing these days. I’m struggling a lot with the system of publishing; it seems like there are so many people trying to get in that there is no room for people like me with no connections and no previous distinction. I write okay short stories but not award-winning ones, so I can’t really pad my query with accomplishments. And they don’t care that I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, and that this is really important to me, and that I feel like I have so many stories I want to tell. There are hundreds of people like me. And it’s discouraging.
So rather than follow the standard advice of “keep writing! It takes time!” I have just stopped.
It’s been interesting. I feel at loose ends a lot of the time. I keep having ideas bubble up, and I’m not really doing anything with them. I’m just letting them hang out. Maybe I’ll do something with them at some point.
I feel like I’m missing something. Should I just give up on writing since we’re probably not far from the climate wars ravaging the earth, or some catastrophe wiping out NYC and thus most of the publishing industry? What’s the point of writing fiction for kids if we’re all going to die slowly by our own idiotic desire to avoid carbon taxes and wealth redistribution? Or should I try to self-publish? Or keep banging my head against the locked doors of the publishing industry? I could release my books as audiobooks via podcast, or as a serial on my blog. I could just print a copy of my book to have on my shelf and call it a day.
I keep going back to my favourite mantra, only move into available space. It hasn’t let me down; forcing something will just break it. Physically, emotionally, mentally, life-wise; if there is space for my hard work to make a difference, I should move towards that. And publishing is giving me absolutely no available space. So here I am. And that’s okay.
I have written two novels front to back, including revisions and edits. I sent the first one to around fifty agents and received approximately fifty rejections, so I cried for a month and then shelved it. I wrote my second novel, a novel I think is much stronger, and I am just waiting for my last edits to come in before I send it out into the world for further pain and rejection.
I am thirty-five years old for one more month. I’m not old, but I’m also not a hotshot superstar young breakout sensation. I was never going to be that, but there’s always a funny thought in the back of my head that I should have been. Every time I watch the Olympics I age myself out of certain categories. I remember when I was too old to be the youngest medalist (lol) and now I am too old to compete in most of the sports, except maybe golf (further lol). I am not an Olympic athlete; I am keen on sport generally but my body is a delicate flower that collapses under the slightest strain so I need to proceed with caution always. Case in point: I pulled out a nearly-finished sweater the other day because I hated how it was turning out and now I have a repetitive strain injury in my right elbow. What the hell, body.
So I’m not going to break any records or stun anybody. If my beloved book baby gets an agent (big if) and then if my agent manages to sell it to a publisher (oh god) then I will take my little babby advance, probably use it to buy yarn, and then sob into my new sweaters when my poor book gets remaindered. No one does this for the big dollarz or the fun times. I wrote that first crummy novel during the only three months that my youngest child took naps; February-April 2015. I wrote the second one predominantly at Starbucks while paying too much money to have both my kids in preschool every day. It doesn’t make any sense to do this; I could get a job that paid proper money instead of doing this, but whenever I get ready to give it up I full-on weep about how much I want Imogen to be a real, published book. I have journalled every day for the last three years. I have maintained several blogs; I’ve done writing classes; I’ve written two novels. I’ve written two novels! With small children! And yet, here I am, asking “am I a writer y/n”
I think the answer is yes.
I really hope I can do it.