My first truly meaningful sadness was losing my father when I was six. I didn’t know much of what went on…just that all of a sudden, everyone at school was asking me how I was doing and how my mom was doing. Then my male cousins broke the news the worst way possible, telling me my dad actually wasn’t returning from his trip to Europe. Ever.
Anyway, don’t reach for the Kleenex just yet, folks. The worst is over – or I hope it is, as I try to make this about writing. Yet flashes from my childhood keep coming back.
I found a picture of mine when I was five or six, a time in between the sweetness of the forbidden candies and the harshness of real life. I frown at the camera and my hand covers a piece of paper. That’s Exhibit A I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
Fast-forward well over two decades to the present, and I’m happy to say I’d be smiling if someone took a picture of me at my work desk – as long as I looked decent…which means, of course, out of sweatpants and into a slimming black dress, with my hair blown out and a hint of make up on my face. J Wouldn’t that be swell?
The publishing business sometimes brings us candies, and other times, bad news. For me, it has a lot to do with giving up control. The minute you write a book, it’s yours. Then, when you share it with the world, it’s still yours, but you’ve given everyone the right to criticize it – some will like it, some will hate it, some will love it, and some won’t even bother to read.
And though I’m obviously barely a freshman at being published, I’m certainly a senior in dreaming about it. It might have taken time, but don’t we value things more when they don’t come easily? Well, that’s why I try to tell myself, anyway. :)
So when you don’t place in contests, or when you receive rejection letters, one-star reviews or discouragement from the people who should do the exact contrary – such as your family members, spouses, kids, cousins, or the old lady next door who keeps asking you to babysit her cat when she goes out of town – remember: Writing is not for weenies. It’s a craft, it’s a dream, it’s a business. Work on your craft, keep on dreaming, and turn it into a profitable business.
Allow yourself to feel bitter, jealous, insecure, and pissed off for no longer than an hour. (Okay, a day, if you got really bad news.) Then, bring your chin up and your fingers on the keyboard. And if all else fails, you can always turn to candy.