I get asked that a lot.
Well, it seems to be a whole lot of things.
I first approached this writing thing with an abundance of enthusiasm. I wasn’t worried about publishing at first, I was thrilled with creating. And I went after it with the same determination as Toddler did when she took her first steps. I didn’t care about ‘getting there” I only cared about one step at a time.
- Step One: Decide to take a creative writing class.
- Step Two: Write, write write and write some more.
- Step Three: Connect with other writers, like-minded people who get it. Unfortunately, some of these people still don’t get ME, but that’s okay, I don’t get them either. The ones who are okay with that stuck, the others fell through the strainer and down the drain.
- Step Four: Write. Write…
- Step Five: Learn more about the RULES of writing, and of submitting after writing.
- Step Six: Prepare proposals, send your baby out into the world.
- Step Seven: Write…
- Step Eight: REJECTION! Cry, bawl, whine, complain.
- Step Nine: Write…
- Step Ten: Send out, REQUEST FOR FULL! I’M RUNNING NOW! After two years on Editor-who-shall-remain-nameless’s desk, she hasn’t responded in any way whatsoever, even to my follow up calls, and I’ve decided that qualifies as a rejection. STUMBLE!
- Step Eleven: Kinda write…
- Step Twelve: Get mad at Mr. Man, write a story in one afternoon and send it to True Love Magazine. IT SELLS! I’m running again. Sold another. Cool!
- Step Thirteen: Send more proposals out, get more rejections.
You can see where I’m going with this. The writing gets lost in my funk over hitting my head against a brick wall time after time.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a pull back to my fiction, and that’s nice. I tell myself to just recapture the magic of storytelling, the publishing is incidental at this point. Then, it’s been so long since I’ve been to it, I freeze. I go to critique group, and see how good everyone is, and think, I can’t bring my stuff to read! It’s crap! Then I glimpse at the enthusiasm they have, espacially Baby Diva, and I want it back, the enthusiasm. The yearning to create. I want it back.
What I’m desperate to do is to unshackle myself from these excuses and laziness and just DO IT and quit WHINING about it.
Write for the joy of writing, and quit worrying about approval. Because for me,I think, it all boils down to my desperate, sickening need for approval, rather than selling, per se.
Oh, look, at least I have the neuroses to be a writer. Maybe I’m on the right track after all.
Hey, this is a fun article about comma use, of all things.
It’s a pretty neat blog in general.
NEW YORK — The U.S. publisher of a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad closed its offices as a “precautionary action,” but emphasized that no threats had been received and that “The Jewel of Medina” would be released as planned. (Read whole article HERE.)
“How chicken shit,” I muttered when Random House, Inc. dropped the novel The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones. The premise of the book is a fictionalized account of Muhammed and his child bride, A’isha. You would think a powerhouse like Random House would stand up for freedom of expression if not for American principle, at least for the sake of good capitalism. I mean, come on, the controversy generated by the press alone is guaranteed to be a selling point for a novel that might have otherwise gone quietly into a good bookstore near you.
Despite worries Random House cited over “offending Muslims,” (Do they take this much care in not offending Christians? Or other faiths? Honestly, I’m not sure, I’ll just stick to this example for now) (Beaufort Books, publishers of O J Simpson’s ‘if I DID IT’ (oh, come ON, he did it) apparently saw the potential. Read their press release HERE. This press release also states Sherry Jones has a two-book deal with them. Way to go!
I’m not saying this isn’t risky. Far from it. It’s as tricky as tickling a Rattlesnake with a stick. Extremists have already fire bombed publisher Martin Rynja’s home in London. He says:
“In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear. As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate.
“If a novel of quality and skill that casts light on a beautiful subject we know too little of in the West, but have a genuine interest in, cannot be published here, it would truly mean that the clock has been turned back to the dark ages. The Jewel of Medina has become an important barometer of our time.” (Read this article HERE.)
A very informative blogpost at GalleyCat says:
When Sherry Jones told her publishers at Ballantine that they should send a copy of her novel about the life of one of Muhammad’s wives, The Jewel of Medina, to Islamic studies scholar Denise Spellberg, she never anticipated that Random House, Ballantine’s corporate parent, would decide they were afraid to publish the novel after all. Instead of giving Ballantine a nice blurb, Spellberg called her own editor at Knopf and told her putting the book out was tantamount to “a declaration of war” against Islam and would probably lead to terrorist attacks on Broadway—and that was enough to put Random off the idea altogether. (Read entire blogpost HERE.)
(For the record, I take exception to the phrase ‘wasn’t just fluffy historical romance,’ Ms. Jones. But I’ll hold off on this fatwa.)
The article also states that:
(Amanullah, meanwhile, posted an article on his altmuslim.com website yesterday arguing that actions like Random House’s are a symptom of “the stagnation and increased misunderstanding that comes from a stifled discourse.”) (Shahed Amanullah’s article can be found HERE. )
He argues against censorship, and advocates using words to argue cases against more words, not prohibitive measures.
Some radical factions, sad to say, aren’t wired to think this way. But snakes react from instinct, terrorists are deliberate. So perhaps I am hasty to judge. I wasn’t in New York City, or D.C. or Pennsylvania on September 11. Though I can know the fear that grazed me the day America was attacked, I can’t really know the immediacy those people felt on location. I do know I experienced that day the fearful uncertainty of what might happen next. I can only hope that I can function in spite of that fear. That I can be outraged enough at the idea someone seeks to supress me by threat or intimidation that I react appropriately. Those rat bastards, as Craig Ferguson describes them, won’t keep me down. Instead, I will count on my optimism and most importantly, my Faith, to lift me up.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. — Ambrose Redmoon
Look, I don’t even know if I’d be interested in reading this book, to tell you the truth. But I AM interested that a major publisher backed off because they were AFRAID.
What do you know? I opened my work in progress tonight, piddled with it, and it felt GOOD!
I’d forgotten Jell-O.
How could I, one might wonder, with all those catchy commercials and Bill Cosby’s enthusiastic endorsements? Well, I’m not sure…I don’t know when I started turning my nose up at the wiggly-jiggly wonder. I never abandoned the pudding, Heaven forbid! But the gelatin, I could take it or leave it, and I left it.
We’re still going through Granny’s possessions. This week, while unpacking another box rescued from storage, I found Granny’s Jello-O dish. It’s not some kind of “official” Jell-O dish, but the one I remember her always pouring her Jell-0 into. Usually cherry, with mixed fruit. It’s rectangular, thick glass, ribbed all the way around with a similar lid sporting raised leaves. Something I hadn’t thought about in years, but when I saw it the rush of memory came back to me. Along with the warm, fuzzy feelings you might expect.
So, I cleaned it up, and made some Jell-O, lemon-flavored, that I brought home from her pantry at her house across town. With marshmallows instead of fruit. There I was in my kitchen, that used to be Granny’s kitchen, scooping Jell-O out of the dish Granny used to scoop Jell-O from. It was some of the best Jell-O I’ve ever had.
I’m having a lot of moments like these, as is the rest of my family. Something that brings sweet memories to our mind, and how lucky are we we have them to relive. Today, Mom and I brunched at I-HOP, and a group of elderly people, assisted by canes and a bit unsteady in spite of it, passed by on the way to their table.
“I know,” Mom said, “I miss her too.”
I hadn’t realized I had a sad look on my face. But Mom has always been able to read me like a book.
Living in the house Granny and Papa did for so long, the house where Uncle B and Mom grew up, the house where they entertained people from Church and unofficially fostered so many children, I am blessed. We want to give that to Toddler, and any children we might have.
I must get to work to get ready for the Home Study. I can’t bear the thought of my Granny’s house, now ours (we bought it after she remarried several years ago), not measuring up in any way. I don’t like putting myself up for possible rejection, I realized today.
Not an earth-shattering realization, I mean who loves rejection anyway? Putting your whole life up for judgement, everything that is you is out there, waiting for someone else’s stamp of approval.
Do you think that’s why I’ve been such a major avoider of writing lately? I’ve lost sight of the love of story-telling by letting all those rejection letters clutter my head? It’s not even that that they are mere rejection letters, I can’t even get past the standard form rejection letter. How sad that a more detailed rejection letter might make me happy. And so totally unrealistic that agents and editors have that kind of time. But I can’t let this hang-up get in the way of my writing much longer.
I’ve always been such a person in need of approval from others. One of the weaknesses I can’t abide in myself. And I’ve always been comfortable with my successes in life. The feeling I might not succeed with something that has been one of my dreams forever eats at me until I am paralyzed into inaction.
Cue the violins.
This foster/adopt thing, though…I can’t let myself chicken out for fear of rejection. I haven’t even thought about it. This dream is bigger than me, it’s Mr. Man’s dream, too. We want a family, always have. And that takes persistance and dedication, as does anything in life that is worthwhile.