Friday, September 20, 2013

Standing still.


I haven’t blogged in a long time, but even before that, my posts were dropping off at an alarming rate. I claimed lack of time and that I prefered to hang out on Twitter and Tumblr, which is true, but not the whole truth.

I was sad. I am sad. I didn’t have anything new to write about. Sure, I could do a post about drafting. Again. I could write about revising hell. Again. I could laugh about how crazy this writing thing is or cry about how unbelievably painful the whole is experience is.

Again.

I could have written those posts. And I did, multiple times, but I always deleted them. I couldn’t ignore that other people—people who started blogging about the same time as me—were writing about new things. Agents. Editors. Deadlines.

Book releases.

I couldn’t ignore the fact that I was standing still.

The number of times I’ve wanted to write this post in the last few years must be getting close to triple digits. I kept telling myself that no one really cares. It will come off as bitter. People will think you’re pathetic. And yet, every time I’d read a similiar post, I’d be filled with such gratitude. The weight would lift a little, and I’d know I wasn’t alone. I am not the only person struggling.
I am not the one person wanting something and watching other people succeed where I haven’t.

So this post is for anyone who feels like I do.

It’s hard, for me, anyway. Every time someone else succeeds, I feel like I’ve failed. Every time someone else signs with an agent or seals a book deal, every time someone else takes that next step, I can’t ignore the fact that I am standing still. I am standing still and everyone else is surging forward.

Or that’s how it feels, anyway.

But it’s not the truth. I am not standing still. Every day I’m reading books and noticing what the good ones do well and what the bad ones don’t do at all. I am sitting down every time my child is asleep and writing new words or revising old ones. I am critiquing manuscripts of my very talented friends and asking them to do the same with mine.
I am learning every day and getting better.

But still, it’s hard.

As I’ve worked through the agony of the last few years, the thing I've come to realise is this: all you can do is try. That’s the only part you control. I’m not ever going to get published if I don’t try, if don’t put in the effort, if I don’t show up and give it every I’ve got. 

I’m not going to get published if I let my wanting paralyse me.

I wish I could say that you’ll get there in the end, that we all will. The truth is, we might not. I might not. And that’s a hard thing to own, but if it’s worth the effort then it’s worth the effort.

So good luck to you all, and I hope you get there in the end. If I can offer you any advice, it would be this: Believe in yourself because if you can’t, no one else will. It’s a daily struggle for me, but I’ll keep working on it. 

And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll have something new to blog about.

11 comments:

  1. I wish I could reach through the internet to give you a hug. You are so much closer than you think you are. You're right—this job is hard, man. But for those who have the gumption to keep going, to keep trying, it happens. It always happens. And that's why I know it will happen for you. xo

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  2. I'm not a writer myself but I do have my own my aspirations that at times feels out of reach so I understand where your coming from there. Just know people (see: Stephanie Perkins * fan girl squeal*) are rooting for you; most importantly though, is that you believe in yourself. So keep on doing what you're doing and we'll be around for when that post eventually comes through.

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  3. Jade,

    I've never read your writing but you have one of those personalities that surely translates to the page. If you persevere, just as you've been, I know I'll be reading one of your books in the future.

    Hugs!

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  4. *awkward internet hugs* The wanting hurts. I understand. But you are doing exactly what you need to, and I agree with Steph--you will get there :)

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  5. <3 <3 <3 Proud of your boldness and honesty with this post! I like what you said about it being worth the effort. I think there's always going to be a 'next step' to crave: a finished first draft, a finished *final* draft, an agent, a book deal, acclaim over said book deal, the ability to repeat acclaimed-book-deal-ness ad nauseam. And I think it's only natural to feel that way. But it's so easy to cross that line of "I hope this happens" to "I need this to happen." To fight my tendency to cross that line, I'm trying to celebrate every little milestone and enjoy it for what it is—to be so very happy with the fact that I finished a novel I am proud of, and that I believe in it, like you said. From what little I've read of yours, I'm SO excited to read more. *hugs* I'm rooting for you, and thanks for all your support of me, too. <3

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  6. Thank you for this. You've put my thoughts into words--I feel the exact same way as you, standing still while others are moving forward so fast. And I'm happy for them, but every time someone announces an agent or book deal or whatever, I feel a little more stuck. But just like you, I'm going to try not to let my wanting paralyse me. One day, I hope it will happen for you and for me, but until then I hope you keep pushing and trying. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end--whatever 'worth it' means to you.

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  7. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to pull away from places that stir up the negative feelings, and focus on what you do enjoy. Love your characters, let them love you back and don't worry what others are achieving. And the sad truth is, social media tends to highlight the squee moments and hide the years of long toil and suffering that led to them. Hang in there!

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  8. I know this feeling so much. Coming from one Jade to another, you are amazing. There's no doubt in my mind that good things are coming your way. Not only do you have the passion and smarts to take you there but you are unbelievably talented. I *KNOW* it's going to happen for you. I've read your stuff and there's no way the big things are going to skip over you. You're headed for greatness, it just might take a little longer than expected.

    I believe in you! xoxo.

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  9. You will get there, I know it. You're one of those people whom you can tell just from their posts that they write well. Sending many virtual hugs :)

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  10. Thank you for posting this. I've been feeling the same way lately, and it's nice to know I'm not alone! You're so right - all of this is worth the effort and I have to keep believing in myself.

    I hope your own hard work pays off soon! :)

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  11. Ah, you are definitely not alone. We're writers too...we've been there (or are there ourselves). Hang in there, and keep persevering. It'll be our turn someday. Hugs!!

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