Thursday, January 29, 2015

Confessions of a Writer #2: So Close Yet So Far

I have a confession to make.

Lately, I've been plagued by doubt, fear, and nonsense talk.

You've heard of the saying, "So close yet so far."

Well I'm all too familiar with the phrase.



Image courtesy of Digital Arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



So many times I've fallen short of something grand. Here are a few examples:


In 2011 I applied for the Barbara Karlin Grant. I was young in my career. You know the writer's high of a newbie where for every contest, every submission you are already dreaming of celebrating before you get the notice. Well, imagine my excitement when I received the letter in the mail. As I read the first line of the letter, my emotions skyrocketed with the words, "I am writing to present you with…(wait…for…it…)… this LETTER OF MERIT for your submission, I'M A MONSTER TOO!" My emotional high descended. I read on, "…you did not win the grant…" My heart plummeted. "…but the judges felt your proposal deserved extra recognition." And there it was. My emotion, suspended in air for a brief moment.

So close yet so far…

2. SCBWI Conference Critique by V.P. of Scholastics

In 2013 I attended the International SCBWI conference in LA and had the opportunity to sit down with the V.P. of Scholastics for a critique. In her words, "…this [my ms] is what we're looking for. I want you to revise your manuscript per my comments… I want you to send this to me…do you have an agent? You need an agent…I will recommend you to some who are here today…" STOP right there! Not so easy. I've been trying to get an agent since. Imagine the thought of having an editor waiting for you, but you can't get through the door. 

So close yet so far…

3. New Voice Contest by Lee & Low

This is the latest contest I entered. I didn't win. Surprise. Surprise. BUT I was sent a nice letter with nice comments from the editor stating that I was among the finalist. This news didn't disappoint me too much because by now I've developed a tough skin. But it's the thought of being…

So close yet so far…

And then there's this: 



A visual reminder of where I stand. Great. Story of my life. I received a few of the #2 ratings and I can't help but feel that life has a wicked sense of humor.


So close yet so far…


Can you imagine the torture? I don't mean to sound ungrateful, because I'm not. I'm very pleased at how far I've come. I'm just saying that the feeling of closeness is a big teaser for me.

I'll be honest, I have a full time job with two active kids with busy schedules of their own. As a mom, their schedule is added to my already busy schedule. But I make time between sporting events, during lunch breaks, in the wee hours of the night, and hours in between. I continue honing my craft. I take classes, read, write, get involved with writing groups on social media to stay informed. With all the hard work and effort put into my writing, I find myself questioning my writing career.

Do I want to pursue this?

(doubt)

How much longer can I subject myself to rejection?

(fear)

Is this all for naught?

(nonsense talk)



Then I ask myself WHY do I write? 


The answer is simple.

I enjoy writing. 


Then I remind myself:

I enjoy writing because my inner spirit is released. There is still that kid in me wanting to explore and share a world of wonder. Writing is also like a vacation for me. I get to travel anywhere my imagination takes me.  I may question my writing future, but quit? I can't. Quitting is not in my vocabulary. As far as I think I am, there was always a word of encouragement and validation that I am a good writer. This gives me more determination to pursue what I love and that is to write.

Whenever I find myself questioning myself I look at this picture: 




"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -- Winston Churchill





  



16 comments:

  1. Romelle, you should feel great. All of these stories show you are so there, you just need to find someone who loves your stories. And as you say, the process itself is part of the reward.

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    1. So true, Sylvia. I need to find my (writer's) soul mate. "I'm looking for you, my soul mate, wherever you are!"

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  2. Romelle, I SO know how you feel. I always say that I feel like I'm standing right on the edge, I just need someone to push me over. Within the past 3 years, I've been runner up of 2 contests, worked with a few agents, made it to more than a few aquisition meetings, and yet my career has yet to take off. Don't get me wrong, I've had 2 picture books published and I am thankful for that, but I was really hoping for a little more stability and an active submission record via an agent. Needless to say, I'm still standing on that edge and there is barely a breeze to knock me over. It's been an exceptionally tough year for me and have seriously thought about giving up. This biz is too hard. But I know in my heart I could never quit. Stories are always going to find their way out of me. It's who I am and who I've been for as long as I can remember. Just keep pushing girl. I love the above picture. It speaks volumes. A quitter is the person who will never know just how close they came to success. We're on the cusp of something good. It'll happen. Good luck!

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    1. Wow, Niki! You were really close on the edge there! I know what you mean about hoping for that "stability." Let's hold hands together as we both stand on the edge. :) And enough of this nonsense talk, right?! Love what you wrote: "A quitter is the person who will never know just how close they came to success." Thanks for your encouragement and support, Niki!

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  3. I've read that the only real way to fail is to never have tried, so given what you've been doing, I'd say that you are actually succeeding! And a "2" from RYS is pretty awesome! Remember, always, that publishing (and art, too) is so subjective. It's not because your work isn't good; it's because it's not found the right person to love it yet. Keep on keeping on!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. And congratulations on your amazing acknowledgement from Writer's of the Future! Love the quote you mentioned: "The only real way to fail is to never have tried." So true. I'll keep on trying!

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  4. yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes! You are so stinking close. And while you are working you are bringing so much friendship and growth to many writers out there. (especially me!)

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    1. Awww...you're so sweet, Lauri! Big virtual huggies to you, my friend! And that's what keeps me going.

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  5. Congratulations on your persistence and the development of a thick skin.
    Getting an agent is so dang hard, but a must for traditional pub. In the meantime, you are accumulating lots of letters of merit, finalist, and good editor comments to include in your query letters.
    You are so very close, so keep on writing.

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    1. You're right, Mona. Nothing wrong with building my resume. Thank you!

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  6. I agree with Mona. You are showing dedication to the craft, Romelle. Writing isn't easy but perseverance pays off. Best to you. Evelyne

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    1. Thank you, Evelyne, for your encouragement!

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  7. This is so motivating! You're so persistant that I want to follow your example! Thank you :D

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  8. Romelle, I feel you pain and your joy. (BTW, great job getting a 2 from RYS.) I've decided to query publishers. *GULP* I just think that path will work for me. Then who knows? When my MG is finished maybe I'll search for an agent then. But I might have connections and sell it myself. I think we each have to find our way. You will win this, my friend. You just have to find an agent that shares YOUR vision. With so many agents out there, that's tough to do. Query some newer agents. If I were querying agents, that's what I would do. xoxoxoxo (P.S. thanks for remembering the big race with Phyll. HA. That was so much fun.) XOXOXO

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    1. Hi Robyn, you're right about finding our way. I played with the idea of subbing to publishers, but thought I'd try the agent route first. Newer agents may be a good idea. I wish you well on your MG! Giddyup, my friend!

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