You’re Not Alone
Posted by Liz Talley Feb 6 2013, 12:02 am
I don’t know about you, but shortly after the rush of the new year and all the terrific resolutions, intentions and big ol’ goal charts, something happens to me. I sort of sink into a funk. I’m not sure whether it’s the season – here in Louisiana it’s lifeless with yellowed grass, gray skies and fickle temperatures. Or maybe it’s the whole holiday hangover thing – the end of January rolls around and you realize it’s a long time until Spring Break. And let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is hit or miss. Or perhaps after this “high” of meeting your goals, drinking eight glassses of water and working out four times a week just like you promised on New Year’s Day, you get tired of being “good.” I’m not sure which it is, but something happens to me. And it’s not really good for me as a writer.
Disclaimer: I know I should have done Rita’s poor writer’s spa day. I probably wouldn’t feel this way.
But still, I get a little depressed.
And this time it was brought on by something I thought I went through alone. But guess what?
I’m not alone.
And YOU are not alone.
So a few weeks ago, several Rubies got to talking on the Ruby loop about our support systems. I realize there are many, many writers out there who have wonderful, supportive families. Writers whose husbands who don’t mind a bit if his wife is, say, on a tight deadline and can’t fix dinner, wash his T-shirts or watch Big Bang Theory with him. And perhaps they have children who don’t mind if they can’t toss the ball in the yard with them, take them to the batting cages or watch reruns of Friday Night Lights. Yes, there exist writers who have a support system beyond compare.
I’m not one of those writers.
And when we started talking about husbands who sometimes stepped on our toes or pulled out those big giant pins to pop our bubbles, I felt better because I realized I wasn’t the only one having to do a song and dance to make my writing sound peachy, wonderful and apt to make us thousands upon thousands of dollars. It wasn’t a” misery love company thing”, it was more a “I know how you feel because I’m handling it too.” Now my husband is not some moustache-twirling villian determined to rip my dreams from my pudgy little hands. He’s a really good guy, but he’s pragmatic to the extreme, so when I signed contracts for 16 books, he figured I’d embarked on a career that could help us put a little back for retirement and pay for the fun things in life. It sorta happened, but not to the extent I had hoped. The industry is a tricky place, right? Self-publishing, new publishers with marketing savvy and ereaders out the wazoo. Heh, didn’t plan on all that when I signed on with Harlequin in 2009. But explaining the industry is hard to do to a layman – heck, I’m confused much of the time myself. So currently, as I stare out at the bleak February sky and brainstorm new books, he’s asking tough questions about my future…about the likelihood of my carving a true career out of my passion. I don’t have any answers, but what I do know is I’m not alone.
And YOU are not alone.
You are not the only one who worries about your numbers on Amazon. You’re not the only one who sweats over the amount of conflict in the current work in progress. You’re not the only one who obsessively checks her inbox for that response from that editor who said she wanted more. You aren’t the only one who thinks you’re a crappy writer. You’re also not the only one who strays from your outline, rolls your eyes at reviews, or cries when someone gives you a crappy score on your contest entry. You’re not the only person who has been rejected three times in one day (happened to me on my birthday for goodness sake!) or thought you’d final in the Golden Heart (but didn’t). You’re not the only writer who has pronounced the editors name wrong, misspelled a word in your query or read a NYT bestseller and wondered what in the hell that was all about. You are not the only person who wonders if you should have stuck with knitting rather than taking up writing (after all you could be making a fortune on Etsy) and you’re not the only person who has doubt about everything you write, submit and publish. You’re also not the only person who feels like a failure – as a writer or as a mother, wife or daughter.
You are not alone.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know there are others out there who know how it feels. That’s why the Rubies started this blog. Not so we could sell you our books (though we’re always happy to have new readers), but because we wanted other writers to know there is a place where people “get” you. Because sometimes the other “regular” people in your world will not. I find great comfort in knowing other people feel the way I feel. There’s something to be said for surrounding yourself with people who have been there before…or are sitting right beside you trying like mad to figure out the same thing. It’s nice to have a hand to hold.
So as you put your fingers to keyboard today, take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.
So today I’m challenging you to recommit yourself to you dreams. If you haven’t been meeting your Winter Writing Festival goals, give it another shot. IF you haven’t dropped in the chatroom for a sprint, chekc out the calendar and make a plan to “meet” some new friends. If you don’t belong to a writer’s organization, take a chance on one. And if you feel alone, know that the Rubies are always here to listen and help (as best we can). Virtual chocolate and hugs for everyone!
So what are you not alone in? Go ahead and let it out. I can just about guarantee there’s someone else who has the same neurosis you have. This is like writer’s therapy day on the RSS. And if we can’t help you, flip back and find Rita’s post on the spa day 🙂