Friday, September 13, 2013

When Publishing Sucks You Dry, Have a Cupcake

Here's the thing about traditional publishing.

There is no way to predict when or if it will happen for you.

I know, right? Sucks. Because you can work and work--sometimes years--and never see any results from all your hard labor.

All right, so, you have some options.

1. You can quit. Easy peasy. Maybe this isn't for you. Eh, whatever. You can find another passion. I mean, seriously. You like to write; it's a part of your identity. But it's not who you are. You're a writer, but you are not your writing.* No need to get all emo and shit just because this crazy stupid, super-reliant on all-the-stars-aligning-just-right BS isn't happening for you. You must write to publish, but you don't have to publish to be a writer. Let's be honest: you've read so much crap, you know publishing doesn't necessarily mean you're a good writer, yeah? It stands to reason that not publishing doesn't mean you're a bad writer either. So, go. Do something else. Come back to this when the wanting far outweighs the pain of trying to get it.

2. You can self publish. A lot harder than quitting. No way to predict if you'll actually be any good at it either. Or make any money. But odds are if you self publish you'll make more money than leaving your manuscript sitting inside the desert wasteland that is your laptop. Might only be pennies. And you may end up spending all your pennies on marketing and booze to ease the sting of not becoming the next H.M. Ward, but whatever. Dude, you're totally published. Also, maybe you will become the next H.M. Ward.

3. You can keep writing. And keep querying. Keep submitting. Slowly go insane. Become an alcoholic. Destroy all your relationships. Shave your head, sell off all your possessions and join a nudist doomsday cult. Good luck with that.

4. You can keep writing. And keep querying. Keep submitting. And bake cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes. And by cupcakes, I also mean garden. Or maybe build model trains. Or knit. Or have babies. Or mow geometric patterns into your lawn.

Basically? Keep living your life. Do things you can control, things that will be fruitful and multiply and ooze results.

This summer I started a garden for the first time. It was glorious.

I made loads of cupcakes and ate them all.

I experimented with pictures. Of feet.


I got a new tattoo. Sorry. Won't be showing you that one. Love you guys, but. Yeah. It's kind of privaty.


Also, I had a baby.

Just kidding. That's my friend's new baby. Crazy cute, huh?

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that you can't let yourself get too caught up in the misery of not making it...yet. That yet can take a freakishly long time. So in the meantime, if you're not going to quit, and you're not going to self publish, do something that makes you feel good about yourself, something that makes you feel like you're the most accomplished accomplisher OF ALL TIME. There is so much out of your control with this publishing dream, but there are so many other dreams and projects and really cool things you can control. Life is cool, man. There is so much else besides writing that can make you feel totally okay with yourself while you're trying to make the writing thing take off. I mean, okay, all my broccoli and my cauliflower went to crap, but I have a ton of tomatoes and onions. And so. many. cupcakes. And feet.

No babies though. Nope. No babies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Elizabeth of Liz Writes Books wrote a brilliant post on this concept: "Writing is not Breathing." Check it out. Please. It's time we stop treating writing like it's the end-all and be-all of who we are. That's an unhealthy attitude that creates the cynical, emotionally-drained writer on the cusp of a nervous breakdown contemplating the most dramatic, stranger-than-fiction ways to end it all. Do not be that kind of writer. You are more creative than that. 






56 comments:

  1. You crack me up! So funny. And wise. I enjoyed Elizabeth's post too. And now I'm going to step away from my computer and live my life (I'll be back later). Happy birthday!

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    1. Wasn't it a good post? Liz is pretty dang smart and keeps me from losing my mind sometimes. Hope you're enjoying your weekend, Kristin! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  2. This was awesome. And funny. And SO perfect. I heart you. Also, YUMMY cupcakes!!! Happy Birthday, woman!

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    1. Thank you, Alison! I swing back and forth all the time, going from moments of utter blergness to shrugging whatevers. It's the nature of things, I guess. But hopefully we can have more moments of peace and joy than all that other stuff...

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  3. Great post! You are so right. To be published by traditional publishers may take years and years, even if your writing and story is exceptional. This business is so subjective and heartbreaking at times. I am glad that there are more options today than ten years ago though. And Yes! We are writers! But we are so much more than that and other aspects should be celebrated! :)
    Love the yellow toes, you make the most delicious looking cupcakes, and that baby that isn't yours is adorbs!

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    1. You're so full of life, Kelly. I love that about you. I've learned a lot from you, with your bubbly spirit and contagious smile. Your optimism can't help but bleed into me a little, so thank you for that.

      Looking forward to your new book, girl!

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  4. Your cupcakes look good.
    It's all in the timing and we just have to be patient.

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    1. Thanks, dude! And yes, gotta wait. Meanwhile, keep busy!

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  5. THIS! I've always been in the mindset of just keep going. The time's going to pass anyway so I might as well keep living my life and keep plugging away at the writing.

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    1. Yes, exactly! That's the best sort of attitude to have. I veer away from it sometimes, and I suffer for it. But really, just keep swimming, just keep eating, just keep playing.

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  6. Nice read! Yummy cupcakes! Happy Birthday!

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  7. Nice read! Yummy cupcakes! Happy Birthday!

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  8. Nice read! Yummy cupcakes! Happy Birthday!

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  9. I like to garden and bake, too. Happy Birthday!

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wish! Gardening and baking are particularly awesome at distracting you from the heartache...

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  10. Do not wait for what may be. Publishing yourself or publishing via an indie house is no less an option than traditional publishing. The commonly held view that it is, is wrong and it should be discredited at every opportunity.

    What is holding your story back? Get it out there!

    Lovely toes, lovelier cupcakes!

    You Rock Cee!!

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    1. Totally, dude. It's always an option, just as viable. Not sure what I'll do next, really. At this point, the first step is probably to shake myself out of paralysis....

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  11. Carolina Valdez Miller!!! You had me squealing like a squealing thing squealing when I read about the baby! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bad Carolina! LOL!

    Hope you continue to find little joys and pleasures on your writerly route to getting published! But please now heart stopping moments - I am fragile and may need a cupcake....
    :-)

    Take care
    x

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    1. Oh dear...so sorry. LOL You poor thing. I'm shameless, aren't I?

      Well, I'm so glad you came by. As always, I love seeing your name pop up. I will try to reduce the number of heart stopping moments in the future ;)

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  12. I love this post so much! And you are so right. You have to be ready for the luck, but among those who are ready, lightening still has to strike. So we have to decide our priorities and keep moving forward, enjoying the process.

    Enjoy, love, live!

    Hugs!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Enjoy, love, live--YES. Can't put your life on hold. It's sort of like a child who says they'll hold their breath until they get what they want. It's kind of silly and quite damaging. And thank you so much! <3

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  13. For a second you had me thinking

    YES I want a cupcake.
    YES I want a baby.

    (But gardening? NO thanks.)

    Also, I'm too old to have a baby so.

    CUPCAKES.

    (Plus writing. And not giving up. And repeat.)

    I hear this post loud and clear and love you for spelling it out. This is what I'm trying to do.

    All of this.
    (Except the baby. And the broccoli.)

    XO

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    1. HAHA! Dude, it's that second I had you thinking that which I'm most proud of. Feeling tremendously accomplished at the moment ;)

      Also, thank you so much. I think something like this may resonate with other writers simply because we've all been here. And we all need to be reminded to stop fretting and hating ourselves so much.

      P.S. I won't ever try broccoli again either. Could not for the life of me keep it from going to seed. And let me tell you, this does not help the emotional fragility of a writer on the cusp of crazy.

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  14. Can I just say that you're brilliant? And I love you. And I gasped when I saw the adorable baby - ha, ha. But you still could, you know. Have a baby, I mean. I always wanted more and couldn't. So have one for me, too. :-)

    This post is SO GOOD, and beautifully written.

    Off to make cupcakes . . .

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    1. That's very kind of you, Kimberley! Thank you so much. It means a lot. No babies in my near future, though. LOL But maybe I can get a book baby out into the world ;)

      MANY SQUEEZY HUGS!

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  15. The saddest thing about this is thinking about the ratio of unpublished masterpieces to published bags of word vomit, bound as if to appear to be books.

    I'm kidding, of course, but you know I feel you oh so well. My problem is that I seem to write a weirder and less commercial manuscript with each attempt I make.

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    1. Just keep doing your thing, dude. You're an amazing writer. IT WILL HAPPEN. I swear it.

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  16. Ha! I thought you had a baby for a moment. But you're right, so much of this is out of our control. We need to do what we can to enjoy the process and remember the other good parts of our life that we enjoy.

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  17. I write because some day I want to write like you! Oh God. You totally stopped me cold at the baby. Cute, yes! In the meantime, I bake. And make yummy dinners. I read. I take pictures of the sea. I planted my first real garden and the bunnies ate all my zucchini blossoms. And I don't for the most part lose sleep over publishing...even when I queried for the first time this winter/spring...and found out I'm not there yet. I just figure when I'm good enough, it will happen. If I'm not good enough, I don't want it to happen. Yet.

    Happy birthday! You are wonderful. Really.

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    1. You're doing it the best possible way, I think. So sad about your zucchini blossoms. How disappointing that must've been! But like anything else, I guess you can just keep at it and try again.

      Wish I didn't lose sleep over this publishing business. Every time I submit my work, I lose sleep, weight, my mind. Ugh. It gets ugly. But I normally dig my way out of the hole, usually with cupcakes ;)

      And thank you so much, my dear. You're a treasure!

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  18. Oh, baby toes! What is about them that makes you want to suck them off? Like puppy ears. I don't know.

    And I hear you on the find-whatever-else-you-want-to-do because I DID self-publish and found out I hate to market, so things have slowed waaaayyyyy down. Although I'm still writing, but not really caring if I publish the next one. But I also found I like volunteering at my daughter's school. She's only 8 once, so I may as well be a good mommy rather than not. Right.

    I tried to garden, AGAIN this year. Nope, I may have 187 houseplants, but outside plants hate me. H-a-t-e me.

    It's good to see you.

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    1. Yeah, sometimes you find out the hard way you're on the wrong path. So sorry to hear it hasn't been the most pleasant journey for you. But I hope you'll find your way to the right path! Sounds like you're on the right path with your personal life, at least!

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  19. Dude! New ink - congratulations! Fun. :) (I'm completely jealous. It has been over a year since my last tattoo and I'm totally jonesing.)

    Onward.

    Yes. Great post. That's all I got - I just really agree. And also? Thank you for the link to the "Writing is not Breathing" article. Because yes. Exactly that. :)

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    1. Dang girl. Time to get back in to the tattoo shop! I swear, the second I got my first one I was itching for a second one. Same thing second time around, too. I already know where I want the third. Just trying to decide exactly what I want it to be.

      And, dude, you're totally welcome. Such a good post, yeah? Liz is a bucket of awesome. Pretty much everything she writes makes me go, YEAH BABY, except a little less Austin Powers, more lame.

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    2. Yes. Would so love to, but I think I have to wait until I'm done nursing. Which is just more time to plan MANY pieces! I am such an addict. It's awesome.

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  20. OH how I love you, Carol!! I was in this exact boat for 7 long years. Basically my oldest son's entire life, minus ten months. Isn't that crazy? But I promise if you keep trying (and keeping making those yummy cupcakes [and send one to me! lol, jk. kind of.]) it WILL HAPPEN. I believe in you!!! XOXOXO

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    1. Thank you, Sara! I'm a believer! I swear it! But, yeah, some days...ugh. But chug, chug, chug...I think I can, I think I can...

      Thank you, love! xoxo

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  21. The options really are just as you've outlined them. Quit, self pub, or keep trying! And eating cupcakes is always a good idea :)

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  25. No shaving heads, okay?

    Eating a cupcake or two sounds good to me. It is true that the pub world can feel far away and untouchable at times. But I honestly believe, with persistence and our amazing cyber community, perseverance is at hand.

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    1. Yeah, totally. No shaving heads! Unless you really, really want to! At the very least, we should probably rule out nudist doomsday cults...

      Thanks so much, my dear!

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  26. This is BRILLIANT, and I miss you! That is all

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    1. Thank you, lovely! And I miss you, too. HOping to get out your way before too long. Surely there's something that will bring me to Cali soon. <3

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  27. Yep. This is where I am. I'm still writing, still waiting for my time to come, but in the meantime I'm doing what's most important -- living.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear it, Barbara. It's too easy to get caught up in our own misery, too stuck inside our own heads. Moving forward, no matter what--that's the ticket. You only get one go at this life thing. No sense wasting it on waiting around...

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