Monday, 31 May 2010

Destination: Unexpected

It's finally dawned on me during the last (four) barren weeks of writing anything but these blog posts and making a few inane comments on FB and Twitter (I had to log out this morning after I *actually* did the shameful/unthinkable and asked everyone to tell me whether to put on a wash or not, due to the inclement weather - and this was one of my greatest fears about signing up for the Twit-fest in the first place - that 'conversation' would become so dull I would even bore myself to www.death) that one of the reasons I haven't been making any kind of contribution to my wordcount is NOT merely because of the crushed confidence thing (which was towed off with the last car) but because I'm spending far too long trawling through other blogs and writer's websites and concluding that any input I make into the world of writing will be meaningless in comparison.
That might be the longest sentence I've ever constructed - and I've spun a few out in my time, believe me.
There are writers out there - proper, fully-fledged writers (most of whom have the sense to take a Masters Degree in Creative Writing or equivalent and hone their skills to qualified perfection) who have a publishing history and future that I could only ever get a whiff of if it ever became fragrance of the week on the Debenhams perfumery stand.  And the fact I don't drive anywhere lately makes this even more unlikely.
There are writers out there who have such guts and belief in their art that they give up the day job and live on Lidl cans of baked beans for 12 months whilst honing their first book and then go out there and damned well secure their publishing deal.  Yes they do! *punches air*.  And there are those who are so convinced their writing is worthy that they send off the only pages they've thus far written and an Agent takes them on just like that *clicks fingers*.  Or they're 'discovered'.  Like the checkout girl who was talent spotted by some Model agency or other I'm sure I heard (didn't I?) or they just happen to have lunch with somebody who puts them in touch with an editor and the inevitable happens and I just sit here thinking.... oh.... oh.... oh....
Because I grew up believing that everyone gets the break.  Even Snow White got the break.  And that Sleeping Beauty.  And Susan Boyle. People seems to be getting breaks every day.  But that's not to say a lot of damned hard work doesn't go on behind the scenes - I know it does.  Yes, I do know that hard work is the backbone to every success story (apart from the amazing fairy-tale discovery-break-things I mean). And right now, after having totally convinced myself that anything I write will never be worth anything; that after 4 books and nearly 4 years of getting rejection after rejection, I am quite simply exhausted with it all. I'll probably write again when I feel stronger, because I love it too much.  But I am giving up trying to get published.  It's soul-destroying and demoralising and I don't think my weary old body/brain can take any more beatings right now. I'll stick to reading books.  I'm good at that. I don't have anything to prove when I've read a book.  I don't even need to tell anyone I've done it and how great I was at doing it.  Or that I'm even thinking about doing it again.  No pressure.
Actually, I didn't even realise I was going to end the post this way. I intended to say I'm going to steer clear of everyone else's success stories for a while (i.e. stop beating myself up constantly) and wrap myself up in a figurative blanket in the corner of a room somewhere whilst my hurt parts heal.
So,  if this is where my train of thought led me, I'm quite happy to get off and have a wander around to see what the place is like.

14 comments:

Bege said...

Debs, I know you're feeling demoralised but stopping writing is NOT the answer, do you hear me? Writing is IN you, it's PART of you, surely you know that well enough to know you can't just switch it 'on' and 'off' at will? The problem with us writery types is that we put far too much pressure on ourselves to SUCCEED, when writing should actually be less about proving our success and reaching the destination and more about enjoying the journey, no matter where it ends up taking us. By all means take a step back, take your foot off the gas and stop beating yourself up about the rejections, but for the love of all things good, for God's sake don't stop writing. You're bloody talented, Debs, and don't you forget it. x

Debs Riccio said...

Aw bless you, Bege, you always say such nice things x

Xuxana said...

Whaaaa? You've written 4 books starting 4 years ago and you're not yet published? But, but, but... I've read your blog posts and you're a brilliant writer!

*swears and stomps around the room in anger on Debs behalf*

Okay, I'm back. Just had to get that out of my system. I am absolutely outraged that you haven't got a publishing deal yet! What the hell is wrong with this world?!!!!!!!!

Debs Riccio said...

Like I said Suz... demoralising... think it's a *sign* that I should maybe step away from the keyboard and take up the Dyson and the Mr Sheene - oh the possibilities are... um... finite, sadly. Thanks for comment x

Jacqueline Christodoulou said...

You know I've been here too, Debs, at this point where it all makes no sense. BUT the absolutely fabulous thing is that you've got FOUR BOOKS that you have written, new creations that, before you wrote them did not exist. They do exist now and they aren't going away - so if you change your mind in 6 months, 1 year or 5 years they are still there. ALSO I have enjoyed reading your work so much. I know that doensn't mean as much as if I were an agent or publisher saying it. I honestly believe that you will be signed.
BUT Have a break. Feel a bit free. Do something else for a while. Just write for the sake of it (which I have to say has been great for me - I've really enjoyed the break I've had from subbing)If/when you come back you'll still four books to sub if you want to and probably be brimming with more ideas.
BTW I don't drive at all, but it never stopped me doing anything - it's been such a short time, give yourself longer and be kind to your lovely self xxxxxx

Debs Riccio said...

Jacqui thanks - you always make such sense x

Clodagh said...

Debs, I know just how you feel, believe me. This business is so demoralising, and I think everyone who writes has been at this point at some stage.

My first reaction to this post was 'Noooo!' you can't give up, you're too talented and clever and funny. But of course you should take a break if you need to from the soul destroying process of submitting. It doesn't mean you have to stop writing, but a break from beating yourself up about getting published could be very liberating. If it's making you miserable, it makes sense to stop for a while. And then when you get your book deal you'll have a whole collection of 'ones you made earlier' to whip out.

Don't pay too much attention to those success stories either. A lot of it is marketing. Naturally authors are going to put a positive spin on their story when they're trying to sell themselves, if only to make it sound more interesting. I think you'll find it's rarely that exciting in reality. And for every one of those overnight success stories there are hundreds of others who got piles of rejections before they got their break.

I really do believe you'll get your break, Debs - you're too good not to.

Incidentally, I don't drive at all either, but like Jacqui, don't find it an obstacle to anything.

Enjoy the break, take care of yourself, and come back stronger than ever.
C xxx

Talli Roland said...

Writing is hard and sometimes the process can lead us to drink (believe me, i know)! But keep going; keep writing! If you keep writing you'll get better and better and it will happen!

Luisa Plaja said...

Debs, I just want to add to the wise and wonderful words in all the comments above that I love your writing! I always have and I always will! And sending hugs. xx

Lane said...

For a start you've written four books. Four books.

When you're feeling fragile (or recovering from feeling wobbly) you are not going to be writing with gusto. And other people's 'success' will seem HUGE in comparison to your humdrums. But you've written four books AND been published. That's way more than your average Joe or Josie so ...

what I'm trying to say is, read for a while. Train hamsters for a while. Anything. But you will start subbing again. When you're ready.
Just go easy on yourself:-)

Deb said...

Right, missus! Enough of this, already! Yes, the writing game is a very demolorising one. Yes, rejection is part of the course and yes, it's really shite sometimes, BUT you know you are a damn good writer - several agents have said so and one has even read your book (and passed it on to another reader) and suggested some changes and believe me, they don't do this unless they think you have a lot of potential. Added to this you are a very witty contributor to Strictly Writing and your blog entries are just brilliant - on that point, have you ever thought of writing your blog up as a book? I can see it now, The Demolorised Writer!
So, by all means take some time out, go scuba diving or chasing squirrels, or whatever you fancy, then get back to that desk, read again all the words of encouragement and get those fingers tip-a-tapping on that keyboard! You know you can!
Kiss, Hug, Kiss.

Debs Riccio said...

Clodagh, Talli, Luisa, Lane and Deb - thanks so much for your comments - they mean the world - seriously they do - am sitting here with tears. Maybe it's a blip, I just feel like I've lost my nerve and everything else that goes with it. Perhaps just taking time out - to train hamsters or squirrels (?!) will help me get my old mojo back - who knows. Thanks all of you. xxxxxxxx

Keren David said...

I've only just discovered your blog/twittering and I'm really enjoying reading your posts. Sorry you are feeling down - the process of getting published is awful, and you need thick armour to deal with the rejection. Take strength from all the positive comments here, trya dn enjoy your writing for its own sake, and when you're ready maybe you'll buckle on your armour again and have another try. Good luck!

Debs Riccio said...

Keren - thanks for following and reading and liking - means a lot - 'When I was Joe' is spookily the next on the pile of TBR books. I'm liking this no pressure reading lark - and the rain... thanks again x