Month: August 2015

Writing Life – Peaks and Valleys

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about writerly things. Part of me thinks I’m not important enough, and another part doesn’t know if anyone would care. Another part knows there’s a writer out there in a similar situation who wishes they had a little guidance. Maybe I can be that guidance.

Like the title of this post says, any writer’s life is full of peaks and valleys, both professionally and privately. I often wonder how much I should share and what to keep to myself. I mean, there’s no shortage of other writers who take to social media for just about everything under the sun. What I have going for me is my unique experience.

Each writer is different, unique. And, each writer has unique experiences. No other writer has seen, or done, exactly what I have. Just like I haven’t seen, or done, what any other writer has done. I think it’s important to remember that.

It’s also important to remember that we should each be rooting for our fellow writers and authors. The world of publishing is just that, a WORLD. A world is big enough for EVERYONE. Yes, even if you don’t necessarily get along with everyone, you shouldn’t harbor any ill will (within reason). Unless someone purposefully stole your husband/wife, manuscript, or pizza. Get it? Good.

Back to the peaks and valleys.

When 2015 started, way back in January, I had a literary agent. I don’t anymore. Former literary agent, Nathan Bransford, recently posted How to Know When to Leave Your Agent. I couldn’t agree with what he said more. Sometimes we can’t know how compatible we’ll truly be with an agent until we work together. Above all, remember to remain professional, even if things go south. What comes around goes around. If you act shitty, even if you’re justified, it’ll come back to bite you in the ass. Hang on to your integrity. Your future self will thank you.

Part of being involved in the business of publishing is knowing when to walk away. Not every deal is a good deal. Not every publisher is a good fit. It’s up to each of us to figure these things out. Unfortunately, we have to do it on the fly. There are no flotation devices. Dive into the vast ocean. Sink or swim.

And sometimes, despite our best intentions things simply don’t work out the way we hoped they would. One moment you’re riding high, the next you’re picking yourself up after crashing and burning. It’s happened to each author, albeit in different ways. It’s part of the growing process. We do. We learn. We grow. What we can’t do is be afraid of making mistakes.

I don’t regret where I am. I don’t feel like I’ve taken a step backward. On the contrary, I’ve learned so much in the past seven months. I have more experience today than I’ve ever had, both creatively and with the business side of publishing. I also recognize exactly what I want out of a publishing house as well as a literary agent. It would have been easy for me to hang my head and lament what I don’t have. Instead I tried to see the glass as half full. I was put in those situations for a reason. I came to grips with it. Learned. Moved forward.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Despite my lack of an agent and a book deal, I’m optimistic. My writing is better. I have several short stories published in different anthologies. My first sale was at a pro rate. How many other authors can say that? Life has been ample amounts of both good and bad.

Even our non writing life has peaks and valleys.

When I was thirteen I watched as Cancer took my grandmother. Apparently it wasn’t done yet. My father has stage-4 Cancer. Out of respect to my family I don’t want to go into specifics. Even though my parents and I don’t have the best of relationships, it weighs on me. Life often has a way of testing us. We can either throw in the towel or we can fight on. My father has been fighting for over a year now. It puts my writing situation in perspective.

My thirteen-year-old niece has a crooked spine and a hole in her heart. She will need open heart surgery.

That same thirteen-year-old niece is a world class french horn player. She’s been accepted to a renowned youth symphony and will travel to Europe for a tour.

Peaks and valleys. Valleys and peaks.

No matter what we do, or where we are, we each experience peaks and valleys. We have good days and bad days. We must remember to push forward. It may sound cliche, but never give up. As long as we’re making progress, no matter how small it may seem at the time, we’re still moving in the right direction.

We can’t always control what happens in our lives. We can control how we react.

When you feel yourself going under, face everything and rise.