Friday, October 12, 2012

Writing is not for weenies


Do you remember the first time in your life you got super excited over something? Or the first time you felt utter disappointment? I remember my late grandmother with tenderness; she always had candies for me, even if she hid them from my mom. I know what you’re saying: that the sweet old lady could be to blame for my horrible eating habits. But back then, such things like bad eating habits didn’t exist, and if they did, they didn’t have names. Or maybe they did. I don’t remember. Hey, I was five – cut me some slack.

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.
Until later,
Carmen :)


  1. Love it. A great reminder that there's always another story to be written - and writing can always make things feel better (so can chocolate cake, but that's hardly your point!)

    1. Thank you so much, Christina. That means a lot, specially coming from you. I keep a stash of candy as Plan B. I'm sure my grandma is proud wherever she is ;) lol

  2. I love this post *so much*. Knowing that other folks, even and especially more-senior writers than me, have the same insecurities and wibbles is so comforting. You've also included a very encouraging message at the end: chin up, fingers on the keyboard. I think I want that on a poster. :)

    1. Aww thanks, Vivien. I was unsure if I should post it or not, but now am so glad I have :) Yes, let's make a poster! :D

  3. Love it... although as a complete newbie, I'm desperately hoping it does come easy. Pretty please?? I'll even throw in some sweets :-D

  4. Lovely post, Carmen. We all need candy sometimes. :0)