Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And So I Scream

Writing is only cathartic when I'm emoting about something in my personal life, or espousing a passionately held belief, or sharing something ridiculous in order to provoke laughter.

Other than that, writing is work. Painstaking, angst-inspiring work, of the kind that almost never receives any kind of kudos. More than anything, it produces rejection. Not a paycheck, not accolades from my peers, not even a nod and a wink from the Publishing Powers That Be. Oh, it produces a wink now and again. One of those tantalizing, this-could-almost-be-a-great-thing kind of winks. Ultimately, though, the nod doesn't follow.

And so I scream.

It isn't an audible scream, though perhaps it should be. It's a mental scream -- a long, deep-in-the-belly, anguish-spewing scream from my soul. Sometimes my eyes leak a little bit from the force of the scream; I wipe away the wet on my sleeve. Sometimes my head flops onto the wrist rest of my keyboard from the weight of the scream; I let it stay there until it gathers strength to lift itself. Sometimes a sound, like a primal growl or the grunt of a woman in childbirth, slips from my throat; I don't pay attention to it. And when the soul-scream has run its course, I heave a cleansing sigh and brush errant strands of hair from my face.

And I write.

So it goes, on and on, over and over. The exciting developments fizzle and end in disappointment. The almost-successes dry up and leave me stranded and thirsty. Over and over, on and on, up and down and up and down.

"You've got a solid plot." "Obviously you know how to write." "I think you have something here." "There's so much about the book that's truly engaging." "Truly did enjoy the chapters -- they were well-written, exciting, and fun."

And No. No, thank you. No.

It's okay. My self-worth isn't tethered to this process. My writing continues to develop, grow, blossom -- breathing fresh life into my novel with every pass of the editing eye. And my new work has more strength from the beginning.

Good stuff. Good stuff out of the scream-inspiring stuff.

Here's to another day of pouring into what is ultimately not part of my soul. Words on paper, really. Born of something deep within me, to be sure. But in the end, words on paper. A final product. A sales potential.

A book.



  1. You are the best. I'm sorry the publishing industry hasn't figured that out yet. ;)

  2. You're getting there. And you only need one perfect agent. Just one.

    Go read Moonrat's Ode to a Debut Novel (about 3 posts down) and get back to work. You will sell your novel. It's going to be big. You have at least 45 eager authors who adore you and will support you.

    I'm sure there's more than 45, but only 45 submitted so that's my low end count.

    Go. Read. Write. Publish!!!!

    *insert war cry here*

  3. I'm new to your blog, and thus far have only lurked. But from what I've seen (still going through the archives) you're doing a great things with your blog.

    And you're definitely doing a great thing with your writing. Because it is toil, often unappreciated and unlauded. Thank you for your example of perseverance. Until I can pick up your book at the bookstore (you would reveal that information to your readers, right, despite your anonymity?) I will satisfy myself with your blog.

    Yes, onward. :)

  4. I needed this :)

    Sometimes it's just comforting to know other writers suffer too. That we're not crazy for screaming.

    Thanks :)

  5. Although I'm not screaming now, I have many times in the past. And I too am looking for that one agent who will say yes. My WIP is going swimmingly right now. Characters talk to me all the times, and I just had my bad guy voice himself. I write as fast as I can, because I fear their silence.
    I enjoy reading your blog. It is one of only two that I subscribe to. h.l. dyer is the other.
    Good luck. Don't give up. I too look forward to seeing your book on my bookshelf.
    I look forward to see the other writers who contribute to this blog books on the shelves as well.

  6. This is why we love you Authoress. We all can relate. I, myself, have not entered the submission/rejection arena yet, but the writing/revising/making-myself-a-better-writer process can be maddening; hair-pulling, gut-screaming maddening. And yet we continue to write...we're crazy.

    Thanks for sharing and don't give up. Lots of luck in your writing endeavors. :)

  7. Authoress -- is there anything we can do to help? Care to post something from the book that you feel is giving you trouble?

    I have a feeling that whatever is stopping you from "getting there" is something very fixable and I hate to see you crashing your head onto your keyboard like that (although we all do it!)...well, just if you're needing feedback, you know where to find it! LOL

  8. I bet we could form a choir or a banshee rock group with all the screaming we do, don't you think? O:)

    Heh, you'll get there, Authoress. :D And when you do, we'll all be screaming along with you--in joy and excitement.


  9. I am living your pain as we speak. The building excitement followed by the deadening silence of waiting...and the big creshendo.

    The NO.

    It hurts and it definitely knocks the wind out of you. But, I love how you described your love of writing itself. Loved it.

    NEVER give up. All it takes is one YES, just one.

  10. Reading something like this lightens the load, only because I share your pain.

  11. Ugh... I'm certainly screaming! I'm in the exact same place. Everyone has such nice and positive things to say about my work... along with no. :S

  12. I have been thinking about your post since I read it yesterday. All I can say is that totally sucks.

  13. Wow -- I can "feel the love."

    And without chocolate, even! :D

    There is something to be said for this "we're all in this together" thing, which is why I wrote the post in the first place.

    Have I mentioned how much I REALLY LIKE you guys?

    Or have I romanticized my reader base? Oh, say it isn't so!

    "It isn't so." There, I've said it. You really are a tenacious, caring bunch.

    And scrrasch -- I'm an INFJ, too!! Do you ever feel like NOBODY understands you? LOL

  14. Oops, I stuck a "c" in your screen name and I'm too lazy to delete and repost. :)

  15. Banshee rock group???

    *tries to banish idea from head*

    Oh. Dear.

    That's just mean! Out idea, out!!!

  16. Authoress, I share your pain.

    I scream, too.

    *goes back to writing with sore throat*

  17. I love your last word. "Onward." You are awesome.

  18. I'm between the I'd like to see the first three chapters and the It's got some real potential, but it's not what we're looking for right now. Just remember, non-writers don't get rejection slips -- so they're just as much proof that you're a writer as the acceptance letter will be.