Laughing Past The Low Points

WARNING: This post contains a fair amount of whining. For the funny stuff, please scroll to the end.

That’s right. I didn’t write a blog post last week. Why? Because for a couple weeks I have been in one crappy mood and hated everything about my world.

The past couple weeks have probably been my worst since chucking the day job to write full time. Let’s look at the pile-up on the interstate of my world…

  1. Income-generating work has slammed into a brick wall.
  2. That brick wall was built from the bricks I’m shitting over whether or not I made the right decision not to self-publish The Trials of Hercules.
  3. I had an agent basically tell me my novel sounded stupid – not in those exact words, but I got the gist of his letter.
  4. I’ve been wallowing so much over novel woes that I haven’t been able to put pen to paper to start Book Two of the series.
  5. I got whammed with a nasty doctor bill despite already paying $250 a month for health insurance (see Number One for why this doubly sucks)
  6. And to top it off, I’m feeling puberty-low about my appearance.

So what do I do? Get a real job? Ew. Do I give in and drown myself in a pint or ten of Haagen Dazs? Do I throw out all the writing books and admit defeat?

Hells no! I have to take it in stride. Besides the appearance part, this is part of why you have to be one tough cookie to be a writer and just suck it up. Okay, I did drink very heavily one night over this, but only one night since – although it would be wonderful to be compared to Hemingway – I don’t want to be compared to him in that way.

The income black hole is hard. I’ve never been without a steady stream (or at least a bubbling creek) of money coming in. But part of being a writer is the ebb and flow of income. This is why every writer needs to have a savings account she doesn’t touch until times like these. All I can do is continue to send out applications for writing jobs and queries to magazines and tuck away those tiny royalty payments.

As for whether I made the right decision not to self publish…who knows? No Magic 8 Ball is going to give me the answers and I wish my queries to agents could include the wonderful words (and oodles of 5-star reviews) test readers have given the book. I want to send agents the email from one of the readers who was begging me to write the next book because she liked the first one so well. I want to shout, “Seriously agents/publishers, this book has potential!” But all I can do is continue with the formal query letter until I run out of people to send it to.

And that agent’s letter? I have to admit, it hurt. However, the upside of it was he took the time to write me a four-paragraph email about the query I sent. In this world where you’re lucky to even get a form rejection letter from an agent, a four-paragraph email is an amazing and rare thing. After crying a little, I took his words to heart and re-wrote my query letter and have decided to rename the series and perhaps even the title of the book (more on that next week). So, thank you Mr. Galen…although you’re going to wish you nabbed this one!

Book Two? I won’t say I had writer’s block because y’all know I don’t believe in that. I had apathy, I had a touch of depression, I had a loss of confidence. But a little mental ass kicking spurred me to set down the outline for the rest of the series. Hells yeah! (Six books in total, in case you were wondering.)  I’ve also dug out my copy of Novelist’s Boot Camp and this has kicked my pen into full gear for Book Two (seriously, the boot camp book is totally gimmicky, but for some reason it motivates me).

And my appearance? Well, at least I didn’t decide to be a model. I’ll just keep hiding out behind my computer and avoid all mirrors.

So that’s the writing life, and life in general. Sometimes things suck, but it’s up to you to flip that stupid storm cloud upside down, rip it apart and extract the silver lining (which you can then use to pay your medical bills). Oh, and small, steady doses of BBC Radio comedies like Cabin Pressure help immensely (after all, Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice makes any day better)!

And now, since this post has been way too serious, it’s time for some funny responses to mean people. Next week, I’ll have some updates regarding The Trials of Hercules and the entire series…good stuff is on the way!

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