Like the Terminator, or the Exorcist

Forgive me, Followers; it’s been seven weeks since my last post. The last time we spoke, I was on my way to a writers’ conference in Jackson Hole.

So was it fantastic or horrible? Why did the trip silence you, Karolyn?

Ah, it was fantastic. The faculty, the guest writers, agents and editors, plus the other wanna-publish writers, everyone was friendly, helpful and extremely talented. I filled an entire legal pad with notes and quotes and ideas and more books to read. I got feedback on my work in progress (WIP) from four different people: three writers and an agent. Each weighed in with sage advice, some of it conflicting, but some comments were repeated by all. More than 100 writers attended the conference, and I made a few friends. I saw the dedication in their eyes that I see each morning in my bathroom mirror. From age 15 to 75, writers from across the country came to listen to the likes of Michael Perry, Anita Diamant, Dennis Palumbo, Lisa Bankoff, Robert Guinsler, Sarah Bowlin, Denise Scarfi, Katherine Sands, and many more.

In other words, it was intimidating.

The thing about being wanting to get published is this: nobody cares if you do. Seriously, nobody. Unless, I suppose, you have a family to support whom you’ve convinced that the only way you’ll ever be published is if you quit all other money making ventures to focus on your manuscript. They might care. But no one else will. Not agents, not publishers, not your friends. You know why? Because there are thousands upon thousands of other writers who will give them finished manuscripts.

But here’s the thing. The definition of a publishable novel varies as drastically as the definition of a good president. A newbie writer just has to find one person who thinks his/her book meets that definition. If that person’s not an agent or publisher, then the writer just puts it out as an ebook! Some writers have the confidence (or… stupi  naiveté) to put any work out into our glorious literary world with their name on it for eternity. Either I lack confidence, or I’m playing it smart. One day you will be able to judge.

So how does this explain my silence, and what does it mean for our future here?

Okay, I might have had a momentary (read: weeklong) lapse wherein I stopped writing, but then, like the storm that follows the calm, I woke one day with a screaming vengeance. I will not give up! (Winston Churchill taught me that.) But, I also learned that small publication credits will immeasurably boost my chances of having an agent take a second look at my query letter once it lands on his or her desk.

In other words, I’ve been cheating on my novel with a couple of non-fiction essays.

There, I said it.

I’ve also just returned from a weeklong plane/bus/automobile trip covering the northeast part of our beautiful country. Oh, the things we do for family.

But now, I’M BACK… and curious….

How do you recover from that overwhelming feeling of “Do I have what it takes to do this?” Whom do you call? What do you tell yourself? What is your motivation to follow your passion or simply fulfill your obligations? I look forward to reading your comments.

2 Replies to “Like the Terminator, or the Exorcist”

  1. Robert Hughes once wrote, “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” Keep that in mind during the moments of self-doubt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.