Yesterday was weird. And I was feeling like I don’t know how to get where I want to go. Like here’s me, trying as hard as I can, and there’s what publishable writing looks like and I don’t know how to get from here to there.
The Professor called me and she said, and I’m paraphrasing, that it’s time for me to stop pretending things are within my control, which is what she thinks my constant fantasy of “just needing to get better” is about.
All the things I want to happen aren’t happening because of something I’m doing wrong. And, if only I can figure out what I’m doing wrong, all my dreams will come true.–that’s the fantasy.
It kind of took me aback to hear this, because that is my fantasy in so many realms of my life. But I forget and then get surprised to discover that I’m saying it to myself about the thing I’m fretting over at the moment.
She says it’s time for me to accept that I need, also, to get lucky. I am a good writer. People enjoy my stories. Yes, of course, I should strive to be better at my craft, but I’m also at a place where I’m not getting rejected because I necessarily am not good enough as a writer, but more because I’m just trying to find an editor who likes it and thinks his or her audience will, too.
Not talent at this stage.
I’m having a kind of hard time accepting that. I want to be universally loved, or hated for things I can control. But it feels true. So, I’m going to sit with it a while.
The hardest damn thing for me about being a writer is believing that I produce good work, rejection after or rejection (or my favorite: resounding silence, no response, which seems to be agents’ preferred mode). Even the occasional sale can’t erase that nagging suspicion that the sale was a fluke, and really, I suck. But. The rejection rate is over 99% for some agencies and publications…so even if I, you, we are in the 99th percentile, we get nothing. That’s bloody luck, right there…and subjective taste, and saleability. Things over which we have zero control. Ugh.
Yeah, that’s exactly the point the Professor was making.
But I hear you. I know it comes down to–at some level–confidence. I have to figure out how to feel confident that my work is good, even if it gets rejected. I have to somehow know that the story works, even if that place doesn’t want it vs. the times when maybe the story just isn’t that good.
I’m not yet sure how to develop that skill. Ha. Ugh.