Okay, so I'm not really a masochist but sometimes I wonder why I (or anyone else for that matter) write considering the cold, cruel world that awaits me and my work. The stories I create are my fifth child and I am terrified one day someone will tell me my baby is ugly. I've considered writing only for myself, not trusting anyone else to sneak a peek ever, but... BUT. There's that pesky big BUT that I can't deny. But I can't keep it to myself. Even though I fear rejection, I crave approval. I desire acceptance. I thrive on success. Who doesn't?
I love writing. while writing this post I tried to remember the very first time I dreamed of writing a book and realized I was so young that I'm not sure but I know it was prior to kindergarten. When I was six or seven I recall wondering if I could be the youngest ever published author but didn't know how to find out. During grade school my mom would often have to hunt her typewriter down. I would write about my emotions, sort of like writing a journal and a story all at the same time. If I got upset, I would write a letter expressing my feelings to whoever had upset me then shred it. I hid behind words. I loved my books and found them to be better friends than most of the people who were supposed to be my real friends. While the other girls I went to school with had aspirations of becoming nurses or ballerinas or mommies, I read voraciously and daydreamed that one day I would see my name on a dust jacket on bookstore shelves. And my dreams didn't stop there. I saw myself doing readings, being asked for my autograph, and flying to New York to sign huge six or seven figure contracts. Not too lofty right?
So I kept reading and wrote here and there all through high school. After graduation I decided college wasn't for me, I was smart enough right? Yeah. So by the time I was twenty I had my first son and was a part-time bartender who'd forgotten about my writing aspirations. I did, however, decide I wasn't smart enough and went back to school. My mom convinced me nursing school was the best direction but my heart wasn't in it. I made it through one year of nursing school before I quit. I struggled to find a new major but continued on in college. Every quarter I took an English/Literature/Writing class for fun and enjoyed writing essays, reports, and term papers when others seemed to dread them. It didn't make sense to me why others had such a hard time.
One quarter my Business Communications Professor made a comment that changed everything. After meeting with him prior to turning in my final report he said eight little words that made my breath catch in my throat. What were those eight magic words? You write almost as well as I do. WHAT?!?!?! A professor gave me this ginormous compliment so casually I had to ask for clarification. No, my ears did not deceive me. I walked out of his office and called my husband, Jamie (who by the way had been telling me this and to get my degree in English for, like, ever) to share my exciting news. He wasn't surprised. he simply said I told you so.
Needless to say I finally did what I should have done all along. I graduated in 2006 with my Associate of Arts with a major in English and a minor in Business Communications. But I still wasn't writing. Then a strange thing happened one day in April of 2009 I was bored and was stressed out so I reverted to my old habit of writing about my feelings. So letter by letter, word by word I typed while I worked out my frustrations and heartaches. I had no idea that those first few paragraphs would turn into pages which became chapters and before I knew it, a novel. Why did I ramble on with all this? To get to my point of course. Now I had a novel on my hands and just in time for my first writers convention. I even managed to convince an agent and a publisher to accept submissions while at that convention. Too bad I had no idea the correct way to edit, revise, or format before submitting my novel to either so of course both rejected me, err, my book.
I knew rejection was going to happen, it still sucked. I didn't do anything with my book again for over a year. It just sat in my laptop. Waiting. Then in June 2012, I got fired from my horrible job and as each day passed, the more depressed I became. I decided my New Year's resolution for 2013 was to submit my book at least three times and started talking to other published authors and did a good, thorough revision (though it still needed a ton of work). In January I submitted to a publisher and the rest is history. Problem solved right? No more worries about rejection right? WRONG! Now that it's out there in the real world I get to troll every website I can find looking for reviews. I hold my breath every single time I look praying there isn't a bad review. I know it's coming. Eventually someone will not like my book, probably a lot of someones, and they will leave a one star rating or worse they will shred my book, picking apart every flaw I may have missed, saying not so nice things about my story, or just plain old mean comments because it wasn't their cup of tea.
No matter how long you've been writing and/or published getting a bad review sucks. Having someone tell you your baby is ugly hurts. Knowing something you've poured your heart and soul into for weeks or months or years may fall short of someone else's expectations doesn't get easier. I was told a long time ago if you are going to be in this business you need to grow thick skin, but I don't really think that it is possible to grow, maybe you just get more accustomed to dealing with the bad. So the point of my insanity this time is to see where I've been and what I'm facing. Maybe authors have to be a bit masochistic or just plain crazy to expose ourselves the way we do. Hell, I don't know. I really hope this gives you an insight to my weirdness and maybe the next time you write a review you remember everything we go through, even if you despised it, even if we are a little twisted, remember we have feelings, too.