Monday, March 22, 2010

On Brain Oddity

I've got to share this.

Those of you who have gone through or are currently going through the querying process understand how important it is to put the whole "waiting to hear from the masses" thing out of your mind in order to move on with whatever's next on your plate.

(Yeah, right.)

Seriously, though. You send your queries, you move along. You send the materials as they are requested, you move along.

"Move along," of course, means writing something. Revisions, shopping lists, a brand new WIP. Anything. It also means "live your life as though it were normal."

Of course, there's nothing remotely normal about living in a vacuum of what-ifs. But that's what you have to do. This isn't universe-altering stuff. It's as an aspiring author.

All that to say--my brain has done a strange thing. It has decided that none of this is real. I've never written a novel, never queried anyone.

There must be a psychological term for this. (Anyone?)

To be sure, this makes life a lot easier! But it also makes me question my sanity.

Then again, there is nothing remotely sane about this journey. It's exhilarating, character-building, and occasionally fun. But not sane.

You knew that, of course.

All that to say: If you're having trouble dealing with the ups and down, relax and let your brain take charge. If you're lucky, it'll just convince itself that none of it's real, and you'll go along your merry way, smiling.

Either that, or I need to stop writing science fiction.

At any rate, it makes rejections easier to bear. It's not a reflection of you (or your brain), after all. It's about your work--which is NOT (believe it or not) an extension of you.

There you have it, be it wisdom or weirdness.

Press on!


  1. I have been known to do this too. Definitely makes the process easier.

  2. LOL, I've been trying to do this. But everytime I've succeeded in thinking only of wedding plans and fishing, but every time someone has to ruin it by asking "how's your book going?" Aargh!
    You'll make it, Authoress, whether or not your hair will be intact remains to be seen, LOL.

  3. "Live your life as though it were normal." I love this! Great post! Can I quote (and link) you on my blog tonight?

  4. You mean actively stalking my in-box isn't a good thing? Having my phone alert me of every email is a bit obsessive? You mean . . .

    Oh, the joys of querying . . . which I'm about to start again in a month or so, maybe a bit longer!

    Thanks for the post and the gentle reminder that we're not all raving lunatics . . . at least not yet. : )


  5. How very true and to the crux of the matter. It becomes frustrating staring at your in-box and waiting for it to change. Kind of like watching grass grow or paint dry.

    I do have one area of disagreement with your post. When you said your work is not an extension of you, I kind of think it is. But maybe that's just me.

  6. Sharon -- Of course! :)

    Michael -- I prefer to look at my work as a REFLECTION of myself, not an extension. "Extension" connotes that my identity is somehow partially connected to what I do (writing or otherwise). And what we DO is not who we ARE. That is why I say our work is not an extension of ourselves.

    If we view our writing as an extension of self, the rejections are going to feel much more personal, more painful. I believe we must guard against that.


  7. I agree with you on the "reflection". I think it's important not to sentimentalize your work or make it your baby. If someone, however expert, told you your baby wasn't good enough and you had to improve it, you'd do the Mama Bear Roar. But not with your work. With your work you go Yes Ms. Editor and do it. Because Ms. Editor is not always right, just usually.

    That's the second reason we shouldn't see it as an extension of ourselves: it makes revision too painful too.

  8. You press on sweetheart. I love you.

  9. Thanks for giving me "permission" to go out and buy a new dress while I'm waiting....

    Love your post, as usual.

  10. Your post is so true. You need to keep going, even while you're out there in the agent-hunting quagmire. I don't know if I would have understood this just a few months ago, but now I can see it. Thank you so much for sharing your writing life. It has helped me immensely.

  11. Or you could do what I did the last time I started querying a book: have a baby (by C-section). Very hard to think about other things with a newborn screaming in the background - and all that post-operative morphine streaming through your veins:)

    Keep at it, Authoress. We're all pulling for you.

  12. Good luck with these queries that you haven't even sent, since you don't even write.

    The condition is called Aspiring Author Amnesia. I think you can get relief from aspirin, but the only cure is an agent.

  13. There's a name for it, but I don't know how to spell it.

    Whatever, good luck.

  14. You know what? This whole post could make a VERY interesting science fiction novel. Just saying. :) Something about an anonymous author who causes a stir and the whole world tries to find him, but the problem is the guy who wrote it doesn't remember he's the author. Please forgive that horrid sentence and focus only the content, not the grammar. :D Anyway, very interesting post, I'll have to watch out for it when I start sending query letters. :D

  15. Aspiring Author Amnesia! LOVE. IT. And the only cure is an agent. Righteous.

    This post made my day because I just got a rejection in regards to query I didn't send about a book I didn't write. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to begin work on what will become my masterpiece...

  16. I loved this advice and totally agree with the concept. I can hardly wait to work on something else when I have a bad day or if I'm doing the waiting-dance (like right now). Sometimes, if it suits me and I'm bored, I just start something's weird...

  17. Rejections aren’t as annoying as they were when I first started submitting, they just make me learn more, but I do get annoyed if I receive no answer at all. I know agents receive many queries, but to not answer at all is like saying writers as people don’t matter. I take that personally. It feels like they’re putting me in the slush pile, not my manuscript.

    I should try your way, Authoress, and think ‘none of this is real’. But that’s hard when we live and breathe writing, critiquing, submitting, rejections, editing, contests, and some no replies.

    I don’t know how you do it. I don’t obsessively check my emails anymore though. I’m too busy writing the next manuscript.

  18. Thanks, Authoress! I linked in to your great post on my post tonight. :)

    P.S. Mr. A is so sweet!

  19. Is that when Morpheus shows up and offers you the red pill or the blue pill? :-) Great post!!

  20. It's a nice thought...until you're inundated with rejections...then you can't help but take it personally.
    Of course that's why wine and chocolate were invented. ;-)
    Good luck with the submissions.

  21. Great advice, Authoress. I just have one teensy problem with "live your life as though it were normal."


  22. It's so hard to think of your writing work as separate from you. But you make an excellent point--you've gotta keep yourself busy and not think about the queries or the manuscripts out on submission. It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it!

  23. I've been pondering this. When I first got published I had a weird 'this isn't me' moment. I'm just me. And since then I still have her and me moments. Her is the one that is brave enough to get up and talk the talk. Me is the one cringing in the corner. Her is brave enough to talk at venues about her work. Answer questions with confidence.
    Me is the one without the answers.

    It's very sobering but that's what gets you through the good moments and the bad. I don't think I'll ever change. But I am very relieved. It means my ego will never be bold and I will always be humble in what comes my way.

    Egos are talent killers.