Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Writing

A member of my family tells me (and she shall remain nameless) that she doesn't like my blogs that air my dirty laundry. "How can you say such personal things for the whole world to read?" she asks. Her definition of dirty laundry and mine are not remotely in the same universe.

In response to this family member, I tell her that there are only about 5 people who read my blog and that doesn't constitute the whole world. Then I tell her that compared to some blogs, I barely scratch the tiniest surface of "personal." So I wrote that I gained tons of weight when pregnant in a previous blog. That's a fact that stares me down on a daily basis. It's obvious. Believe me, I'd change the reflection if I had the dedication.

But today I need to write about writing. Writing is hard. I'm feeling that writing for publication is high near impossible. Reach for the stars, people say. Live your dreams. At the rate I'm going, I'll reach my dream when I'm 70, with not many years left to enjoy it. Published authors will tell aspiring authors that if they don't enjoy the writing process then the end result isn't worth it. But is the process supposed to take most of your life and nearly all your emotional energy? And what if in my aged state I have to read my published novel with a magnifying glass? I guess I wouldn't be the first.

The problem is this: I don't know if I'm willing to dedicate that much energy to maybe realize a goal later in life. On the other hand, something could happen next year and I'd be so glad I held on. Patience has never been one of my virtues. How I wish it were. I think how so many things would have turned out a little bit better. In other words I want the prize without working up too much of a sweat.

Yes, I got a rejection letter today. It was formal and polite, the way rejection letters are. It did mention the name of my novel, so I knew that it wasn't a form letter. It was nice to see someone else write the name of my novel instead of me. That means it exists; it lives. I gave it life. Do I continue to try to keep it alive?

Here is why novel writing may not be a suitable fit for me. Writing is a solitary job. I am not a solitary person. Writing demands the ability to pick yourself up and try again. And again. And again. I tend to want to stay on the ground when I'm down. Writing requires sacrifice of personal life and time with loved ones. I don't know if I could bear to neglect my family as it would fill me with enormous guilt, or if they could bear to be neglected. Even if it meant I was living my dream.

Here's why novel writing is a suitable fit for me. When I am writing I sometimes feel as if I am flying through the sky without a hint of fatigue. When I write something it is permanent. Nothing can take it away from me, short of a major computer catasrophe. I want to do something for others that has brought me such incredible pleasure and happiness in my life--write something that is worthy for someone to read.

So I will blog my little heart out, and feel a surge of satisfaction everytime I click on the publish button.

If only book publishing were so simple.


Suey said...

Yes, if only.

Hey... you better not give up. I beg you to not give up! But I'm with you on the time thing... I think this dream of writing should be started like, when one is in grade school... not in practically middle age. So frustrating.

But still. You gotta keep doing it!

Marshall and Alison said...

I check your blog faithfully. You are an excellent writer. Tell "nameless" that you do it for me.

Strawberryyog said...

I read your blog! Keep going ...