As writers, we’re probably all aware of disappointments and failures. An editor’s or agent’s rejection. A one-star review on Amazon. No sales—or even a contract—of any kind. No progress on the WIP.
I’ve been feeling a bit like a failure lately. Life intervened, so I haven’t written much in the past year. My WIP is going poorly. I got a two-star review on Amazon. Sales, contracts, and future prospects seem shrouded in the mists of Never-Never Land.
The RWA national conference, while it’s inspiring and uplifting and all that, has a subtle way of feeding into your sense of failure. Everybody has a book—no, a trilogy; no, a 30-book series. Everyone has a mailing list. These writers do Goodreads giveaways monthly. They have street teams and review bloggers on speed dial. They do swag and Facebook parties. They rock.
I do none of this. I’m lucky if I can sit down to write every day. And how does this make me feel, you might ask? Like a failure, I might reply. Depressed.
Just today, though, when I sat down to write and managed 500 words, I didn’t feel that inadequate. Those 500 words weren’t terrible. And I’ll be able to save more than I’d originally thought of the section that I’d earmarked for deletion. That stuff I wrote way back when isn’t so bad after all.
Pretty good for a down spell.
So why do I feel like a failure? Whose fault is that? Not the nice and friendly agent and editor at RWA, who asked for pages. Not the Amazon reviewers, three of whom gave me five stars right before that two-star review showed up.
It’s my fault alone. I’ve been looking at the big picture in a self-defeating way. Instead of looking at what I’m not doing and calling that a failure, I should be looking at what I have been doing. Which, given the circumstances, is a success.
I’ve completed a novella and half of a novel during a time of upheaval. I got a cover designed and met my obligations to my critique group. I’m posting to my sites and responding to mail.
Best of all, I have time to write my books. And if I can’t bring my A game to my writing life every single day, well, Babe Ruth didn’t hit a homer out of the ballpark every day, either. And nobody—and certainly not the Babe himself—thought he was anything but a pro.
How about you? How are you all doing?