Dia(B)log

Confessions of an Unpublished Author

Whenever you hear an author speak about their first big win, be it a contract, contest, or book launch, she almost always thanks her support group for believing in her and the endless encouragement to “never give up”. (As she should!) But while I agree with the former sentiment, I have a love/hate relationship with the latter.

I relish the perseverance in writing. For a scene, a sentence. The first draft or the dreaded second. Victories I fight for every day at my desk. But have I given up the dream at times?

Hell yes.

For me, being a writer is as much about persistence and drive as raising your middle finger to the dream of being traditionally published. The idea at two a.m. that rushed me to the keyboard? It still doesn’t work a month later. Charming. The sentence I love hearing my character say, but my beta reader stumbles on every time I correct it? Trashed. The contest I felt certain I would final in and I’m not even close. The first page that was music to my muse an agent shreds . . .

Or the best example in my case: the risk I took temporarily publishing two manuscripts on Amazon for a contest (which stipulated I had to pull ISBN’s) only to have it be considered by some years later as self-published. (“If it’s not published, why does Amazon say it’s unavailable?” {Their terms of use policy, that’s why.}) Now a tactic I used to get feedback flaunts my ineptness. As I “tried something new” the rules shifted under me once again.

These are all instances when not only should a writer “give up” but she must to achieve success. Chuck the dream for a week to clean out my house, scrub the shower, or fifty other things I don’t accomplish when writing 40+ hours a week. It’s the only way I can gather my courage for the next WIP. With the level of rejection in publishing, how can I give of myself to my characters (and thus my readers) if I don’t give myself a break and offer an “up yours” to the  publishing world every now and then?

I can only write my butt off (rather than just hope) to be that newly launched author one day. But when I thank the amazing supporters I’ve been blessed with, I hope I’ll also be thankful for the times I gave myself some space. Space to grow and recharge and accept it wasn’t my time yet.

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