Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Desperation Station

Everybody off!

Final stop, Desperation Station!


Let's face it, it's not a good place to be. Desperation gives off a certain whiff and makes you behave a certain way. It affects everything that you do and colours your life in shades of panic and anguish. No one wants to visit you there and there's nothing to do but obsess and worry in a pit of wretchedness and self pity.

I never thought I'd end up here. Not really. Maybe, it was possible I'd get off at this stop after many years of trying to get published but somehow, I seem to have got off at this stop far too early.
I'm not sure why. When I first began I had no delusions, in fact I never thought I'd get anywhere at all but  my first book did surprisingly well, with agents requesting it and reading it and liking it and almost taking it on. When it eventually failed to find a home it seemed to spark off something of a panic.

 I needed an agent.
 I needed a book deal.
And I needed them now!

 But everything took so long - the writing, the editing, the revising and then the submissions and the waiting and the rejections and all of that before you got anywhere near a publisher or a deal. Worrying about the time factor only exacerbated the desire to get things moving and to push as hard as I could.

 Convinced that my second novel would be the one I worked like a dervish trying to finish it but despite spending a long time revising and editing I failed to address one of the key problems. It was a problem I'd been aware of all along but I thought I could maybe ignore it and no one would notice...
They did.
And the second book is still sitting on my laptop, homeless and unloved.

But, I went away and started my third book and discovered something I'd forgotten.

The love of creation. 
The pure joy of writing.
The sheer pleasure of words.

And because I took what I learned from my last two books and used it to plan and structure this book it's been a pleasure to write. Because I considered themes and ideas and motivations before I even started I feel that the book is more well rounded even at this first draft stage. Yes, it needs editing and revising but I don't think it will need the huge rewrites that I've had to do before. (Could be entirely wrong about that of course but here's hoping!)

The most interesting thing about writing the third book however is that the sense of desperation has left me. I'm writing for me in my own time and in my own way. I'm not trying to write for the market or to please anyone else and it's remarkably freeing.
 I'd still like an agent and a publisher of course, but I don't NEED one. I have no idea if this project has that special ingredient that will make someone want to publish it and that's okay.
I made it and it's mine and I love it. Creating every day makes me happy.
That is what I'm going to focus on now.

I will still go to events and workshops. I will read and work and do my best to improve but I'm going to do that for me,  I want the satisfaction of knowing I'm improving and growing as a writer. I want to have writing in my life but I don't NEED publication to make me happy and I refuse to let it define me. Published or unpublished I am a writer because I write. That is the lesson I've learned.

 So I'm leaving Desperation Station. I'm going somewhere new, somewhere that I can relax and create and enjoy my life. Hopefully others will come and visit me there...everyone's welcome!

13 comments:

  1. Love this post. Yes, go to a happy place and keep creating! Can't remember her name at the moment, but in "Bird by Bird" (an excellent book about writing), she actually talks about how writing is her favourite thing, and publishing is often an anticlimax. It's the writing that gets her up every morning. I'll join you in your happy place with my sketchbook!

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    1. Lovely to have you Jane! Thanks for commenting. X

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  2. Hi Loraine
    That rings true for me - if I had to chose between being published and loving my writing practice, I would chose loving writing every time.
    Best of luck, bet you get published though!
    lucy

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    1. Thanks Lucy, glad to know I'm not alone and good luck to you too! X

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  3. This seems like a great attitude to have. It is so easy to get caught up in the rollercoaster of chasing publication that we forget to enjoy ourselves.

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    1. Exactly Suzanne, I want to get off the rollercoaster and try the big wheel so I can sit back and just enjoy the view! For a while anyway ;)

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  5. Been there, done that! I had a similar experience, although I got quite a bit further than you each time but not quite far enough! I was certainly very frustrated for what seemed like a long time.

    I'm on book four at the moment and I'm certainly in a much better, less frustrated place. I'd still really like it published though!

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    1. Hi Nick, I have discovered that the closer you get to what you want the harder it is to cope when it doesn't quite work. In comparison I know I wasn't that far along in the process but it still felt horrible at the time so I can imagine how it must have been for you!
      But, still it's good to know that we can pick ourselves up and keep going despite the knock backs. And yes, I'd still really like to be published too but I'm not quite willing to chew someones arm off to do it ;) I hope we both get there one day !!

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  6. I think the problem is that initial agent interest. It fills the head with wild dreams! I blame agents.

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    1. Definitely. I mean the cheek of them, actually being interested in something I wrote! What madness!! ;)

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  7. Great post. I'm glad the train has left the station! but I agree with others who say the closer you get the harder the rejection seems to be. I also agree with you when you say that the love of writing and the joy of making something that's "yours" is the most important thing. Good luck and happy writing!

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    1. Thanks Jane, it's hard to remember through all the submission mayhem and trauma but I'm going to do my best!!

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