I think we can all agree that no matter where are you in your writing career, The Writerly Road is full of ups and downs and maybe a few detours. Remembering why we started writing and why we continue to write is essential for getting through and climbing back up and out. Today Marcy walks us through her journey (with quotes! I LOVE quotes!). I hope you find it as encouraging as I do. Welcome, Marcy!
I hear over and over how many of us have been writing forever. Like, we came from the womb with pen in hand. I’m no different. I once turned a high school math project into a picture-book, complete with illustrations made of Anagrams.
“Your book is a total delight, my teacher wrote, “You surpassed my own expectations with your imaginative rhymes and crafty ‘figures.’ Everything is done with an eye for detail and surprises for the children!”
Teachers, friends, and my parents raved about my writing. Comments like:
“Your story was great! It was such an original idea, I wish I was that creative… you could write a novel, Marcy!” -HS classmate
“Marcy- this is awesome! It gave me the chills. Excellent use of voice. I really enjoyed it.”
With ego puffed and heart full of possibility, I entered the professional world of writing, where I could change the universe with words. Where I could shift culture for humanity’s betterment through a talented gift of language.
Then I heard things like:
“Unfortunately, it is just not the right project for me at this time.” -Every Agent / Editor
“While I appreciate what you were trying to accomplish, I found that the story fell a little flat in its execution… The story is sweet but there is something missing.” -Agent
I know I’m not alone. Our dreams flatten. Fifty plus rejections and a handful of years later, we flatten, too.
Were my teachers and classmates crazy? Was I crazy? Who am I to be a writer in a world full of so much actual talent? Why is this so hard? Why does it look so easy for ___________ (fill in the blank of friend / critique partner / neighbor who seems to publish everything immediately)?
I get discouraged, especially when I write because everyone told me I was good. I have to remember why I write.
It’s like breathing.
Flannery O’Conner says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Writing has been how I process the world. My world. My thoughts, my dreams, my hopes. Sometimes it’s in a journal, sometimes a blog post, sometimes a novel, a memoir, or a picture-book. I share what I’ve written with the hope that it will help someone else understand their world. That the kiddo next door, down the street, across the world, will know he/she is not alone in this big, scary place. That there’s hope. Laughter.
But the voices of rejection can be deafening and blinding.
In order to cling to my vision, to understand my world and help others understand theirs too, I need goals. Accountability. Community.
I found Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month which became my November norm. Then I found 12 x 12 when it was just beginning. It made perfect sense… I had all of those PiBoIdMo ideas, now to turn them into stories!
12 x 12 has given me focus. Goals. I have one month to write a story. One month to revise a story. One month to submit to an agent. I have a deadline. I like deadlines. Especially when I’ve paid money for them. Even though I’ve walked a few years of “this isn’t the right story for us,” I keep at it because there’s always next month. When I feel deflated, 12 x 12 gives me motivation to keep moving forward.
I’m currently revising a memoir. I’ve also written a YA novel- I don’t write YA but this story picked me to write it. And of course, I’ve written countless picture-books. I’m in the middle of a genre-identity crisis, but it’s good.
I’m learning to “just write” again. To get my head out of the market, out of the rejections, and out of the lies that say I’m not good enough.
And to Just. Keep. Writing.
Marcy Pusey is a passionate, deep-thinking writer, wife, and mommy living the serendipitous moments of God’s divine intentions. She’s a member of SCBWI and writes inspirationally from her blog at www.marcypusey.wordpress.com. Marcy and her husband and their four children live in the Black Forest of Germany. When she’s not writing, she’s planning her next adventure or reading about someone else’s. You can follow her on Twitter.