Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When your words get ripped to shreds

Fail Better.

I saw this a few months ago and pinned it because it's good wisdom for many things in life, especially writing. I even remember changing the words in my head the first time I saw it to "Write again. Fail Again. Fail better."

Failure is a part of life, and a part of creating. It's agonizing though. I submitted the pitch for my book in a contest recently and got horrible, horrible feedback. It was bad.  Both the feedback, and what I had written.

I understood and agreed with all the feedback and criticism I got. But man, it totally killed me. I think because my manuscript is somewhat done and I had finally felt so proud of this thing I had written and had begun to think 'Wow, this isn't crap." And then I got feedback on what I had written and it essentially said, "This is crap."  I had an awful moment where I felt that I had no talent for what I most want to do, and it hit me so hard it was all I could do to keep from running to the bathroom at work to cry.

But, I got over it. I had some sweet encouragement and even though I told myself I would take a week off, I got into super attack mode (cause that is what I do) and edited the crap out of my blurb. Blurbs and queries are hard. It's like going speed dating. You are trying to convince a total stranger that you are actually a wonderful, lovable person worth pursuing. You have 120 seconds to do it.

Craziness, right?

That is the publishing industry as I understand it, and I haven't even dove into it yet. I'm just getting educated and testing the waters and holy crap, this pool of publishing scares me to death. I am all "do you like my floaties they keep me alive" and a thousand Michael Phelps are in the pool laughing at me because their skill puts me to shame.


But I learn. I take feedback and use it to make things better. And I cling to hope because she is like a wart you can't get to leave and clings to me despite my Debbie Downer attempts to fling her off.  And I try again. I write. I struggle, I edit. I write some more.

The truth is, I would love to get published.
The truth is, that if that never happened, and a time travel fairy came to tell me that she had seen the future and there was absolutely no publishing in my future, I would still write like crazy. Because I love it. Because it is who I am. Because stories are my favorite thing and creating them is the best, wildest, most wonderful thing. And because I have friends who love me enough to read what I write anyways, even if every agent and editor in the world were to tell me it's garbage. 

I would say that I write because it makes me happy, but really, I write because I have to. Because words and feelings and realities and hopes get locked inside of me, but find a way out in a fictional story.

So here's to writing despite someone taking my words and stomping all over them. The victory is not that the words got liked, but that they got written. 

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