Stuff

I finished this baby blanket and I tried a new border on it and I love it. It’s the first time I’ve experimented with back-post double crochet, but it’s awesome.

I also finished a story. I don’t think it’s very good. It’s not very bad either but I’m going to have to come back and look at it later.

I keep getting rejected, too. I feel like we’re not supposed to talk about rejection, but it’s weird not to. It’s an enormous part of writing. “Hey, I wrote this. Do you want to do something with it?”

To me, and maybe this makes me kind of snobby or something, but that’s the real difference between writing as a hobby or a pastime and being a writer. Not whether you’re published, but whether you’re being rejected. It’s easy enough to call yourself a writer if you write in such a way that you never have to feel the teeth-kick of a “no” you really wanted to be a “yes.”

It’s hard to feel like a writer when you’re being rejected. Do you suck? Does your story suck and you just can’t see it? Should you give it all up and sell baby blankets with cool borders to tourists but no one will tell you  because they don’t want to hurt your feelings?

But it’s in being rejected that your identity as a writer is forged, I think. “No.” Okay, what are you going to do about it? If your answer to that question is “I’m going to send it out again” or “I’m going to write something they will want” or “I’m going to write something better and when it wins a big prize, in my acceptance speech, I’m going to say, ‘Fuck you, all the “no”s’,” then you’re a writer.

And if you hear “no” and never write again, then you’re not.

4 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. What you said about rejection–yep. Pretty much. I got 23 rejections or non-responses before I got my agent. And then when she pitched the book to publishers, it got rejected again 9 more times before an editor wanted it. If *that* book hadn’t found a home, we’d’ve started over with another one. Crazy business, this writing thing.

  2. It is! And it’s also hard because, often, the right thing to do is not clear. Like, now, shopping Ashland. I’m not sure that I’m doing the right thing(s). But I don’t know. I’m trying to make sure that I query everyone who’s interested in representing horror right now. But some agents want to know what my writing career goals are and I’m like…um…to make my enemies die of jealousy? I guess I need to think on that some, because I’m not sure how to answer.

    And thanks for sharing numbers. I know that can be awkward, but there’s something nice about seeing that I’m not going through something unique. This is the nature of the beast.

  3. I’ve never been asked what I envision for my *career*. (Not to tank! To keep selling manuscripts! My goals are small.) My agent did ask what projects I had in mind to write next, and I had a couple answers for that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit the day job, but that’s fine.

  4. Yeah, I need the steady income and the health insurance. Listening to Brian Keene on his podcast sounding like he was hacking up a lung and talking about how he basically can’t go to a doctor unless he’s dying really drives home for me how precarious a full-time writer’s well-being is.

    But I think my goals are similar to yours. I want to work with people who can advise me on how best to do things. I don’t mind doing a lot of my own marketing. I did that for A CITY OF GHOSTS and that outperformed what I expected. But I’d also like to be able to talk with someone who can say “Okay, try this.” I also know that a press release that comes from a publisher matters a lot more than a press release that comes from me.

    I know how to take the shots I know how to take, you know? I’m at the point where I could use people who like my writing to show me how to take new shots, metaphorically speaking.

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