I know we’ve all heard that saying, and most have us have probably quoted it a time or three. But the underlying meaning is true: I’ve been really struggling for some time and am finally able to give voice to it.
It started last year when I had a bit of mini-breakdown. Several personal things were happening to me all at once and in the span of one week I was responsible for so many things that I simply couldn’t function, so I stopped; functioning. I didn’t talk, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t write. ( I did eat, tho, so once again losing weight wasn’t something I was struggling with – because I wasn’t!! Losing weight, I mean!)
The situations, slowly, resolved, and I thought I was back on top of my game again.
Yeah, not so much as it turns out.
For the past two months I’ve been struggling with wanting to continue on my writing journey. Despite several efforts and the best intentions on my part, I still haven’t been able to find an agent who would want to take me on as a client. You’d think 15 books published traditionally would count for something. Apparently, not.
One of my publishers dropped me, and the editor I thought I had a really good relationship with won’t return my emails. Any of them. I even emailed her assistant who assured me she’d let the editor know I wanted to “speak” to her. Nothing.
I write in such a glutted market – contemporary romance – and trying to garner any kind of attention means I spend hours daily on social media, talking up my books and trying to make connections with readers. It’s exhausting – mentally, physically, spiritually. And let’s not forget financially. All my marketing, despite being traditionally published, is arranged for and paid by me. And as my mother used to tell me, money doesn’t grow on trees. I know that saying is true because I live in the woods and my diminishing funds aren’t being replaced by leaf currency.
The kicker came when the RITA finalists were announced last week. I submitted three books from last year that I wrote, one of which I really thought I had a shot at finaling with because it’s gotten nothing but 5 star reviews – most from people who don’t know me personally, either. Alas, March 21 came and went and I received no phone call. Now I know what everyone says when you don’t get the call: it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or the book wasn’t good. It simply means 5 judges thought other books were better.
Yeah, you know what? That doesn’t make me feel any better.
I’ve always surmised the RITAS were a bit of a popularity contest, and this year I KNOW they are. Combined with the utter lack of diversity in the finalists – an egregious act – and I’m seriously considering whether the award really means anything at all anymore. I read two absolutely wonderful books that featured h/h as people of color (POC). I graded them sososososo high, too. Know what? Neither of them finaled. I rated one truly horrible book ( so many misplaced modifiers, spelling and tense mistakes) low and know what? It finaled. After finding out about how un-diverse the awards are, I stopped feeling sorry for myself about not finaling. Some amazeballs POC writers have never been given the honor of finaling or winner either, so who am I to have a pity party??!!
But as far as entering in the future, I give up. Truly.
I’m trying to chalk up this feeling of inadequacy and apathy to a passing funk, seasonal affect disorder, and not having a vacation away in years. I’m trying really hard, as it happens.
Maybe I’ll come out of this stronger and more determined than ever.
That’s the hope anyway.
I didn’t write this as a subtle means of begging for positive reinforcement, or a way of garnering sympathy in the hopes people will buy my books. I may craft for a hobby, but believe me, I’m not crafty that way.
I simply wanted to put my thoughts and feelings down on paper and try and make some sense of why I’m feeling down in the dumps, writing-wise when so many other wonderful things ARE happening for me in my new career. I’ve finaled and even won other contests this year; I’m about to sign with a new publishing company ( more on that later!) and I recently was offered contracts for two books I’ve submitted to my first publisher.
So, life really is good, career-wise for me. I have to chalk this feeling of worthlessness and crabbiness up to winter.
I blame everything else that happens to me on the weather, so why not this, too? heehee
Any hoo…thanks for listening.