Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just a Phase?

Note: I posted this piece yesterday, and today I woke up with an entirely new perspective on the beast, which proves that publicly sharing angst divides problems to the point where they're no problem at all. Thanks, Universe, for so many wonderful, helpful and compassionate friends. (You all know who you are...)

hen to decide it's really over? Lately, through the musings of other authors, different components revealed the dark under-belly of writing: Publishing. Some publishers dropped print lines without informing its authors; agents not performing to full capacity; the chronic debate of what publishers want/expect. It's as if the publishing industry is a ruthless lot of cutthroats - the Debbie Downers of entertainment. And then there's validity. Some published writers objecting to the non-published writers' thoughts and opinions. "Hah!" some will say. "I'm published, you're not. Take your opinion and shove it!"

Well, okay then. Maybe I will.

I long for those naive days when I penned the first Epic. Day and night I wrote, so in love with my story. It was like a ridiculous crush on the cute boy who finally realizes you exist. I could not get enough of it or the two following Epics. For sure, I felt, I'd see publication. My Epics were masterpieces (in my mind).

Now I'm not feeling that love - not for the writing and clearly not for the publication road. For me it's a case of "too much knowledge is a bad thing" scenario. How happier I was in not knowing the forensics of writing and publication. My personal La-La Land. Just me and my pen.

Did I mention that the joy of reading has dissipated, too? Used to be I could swallow a book in its entirety within a day or two. Now I find myself in the thralls of guilt if I do that, thinking that I should be writing, not reading. Not to mention, reading is now an unconscious editing if I know that much about writing. Hah!

Where does it all lead? Is it a matter of joy vs. getting-the-job-done? My present feeling for writing and the lack thereof reminds me of my reasons for self-retirement. I left the job market because getting up in the morning was more painful than a slow bikini wax. Necessary, yet excruciating. My profession lacked self-fulfillment. I did not quit the normal work force in order to be a full-time writer, however. Writing did not come into play until almost a year later. Just something I decided to undertake, the voices in my head wanting a more tangible venue, thus, the Epics to follow.

That's not fun anymore. Learned too much. When thinking of writing for publication my thoughts waver to a more hermit way of life. The "Big Dance" is far out of reach, its preparation daunting. My heart aches for the times of blissful writing that entertains me.

Lately, the other writers don't seem as if they're having fun either. Was it always like that, back before I focused on publication road?

Perhaps it's my age getting in the way. I feel life shortening. That said, I want to enjoy more, angst less. Writing for publication just ain't doing it for me in that regard.

Is this blog my swan song? I'm not sure. Certainty comes in small bites these days. I drown in waves of doubt while longing for simple joy. "Take time off," some will say, but when I return the same dark underbelly awaits. "She's a quitter!" others might think. "Not a real writer in the first place." And there's the rub. Define what a real writer is, and maybe I can see things differently.

For now I sit on this fence, pondering which side appears greener.


lainey bancroft said...

Where to start? (((HUGS)) Always a good start =)

Yeah, publishing is a bitch. In most other things, you take logical steps, each one getting you a little closer to 'the goal' In publishing, you can take 500 steps and discover 499 of 'em did nothing but move you sideways--or backwards.

A 'real writer' is someone who writes. For publication...or not. Deciding to give up the pursuit of publication and expend energy on things that bring you joy IS NOT quitting. Nor does it say anything about whether you're a 'real writer'(gah, how I hate that phrase)

You write. You have 'a voice' and 'the voices' in your head. ;-)

You might shelve the 'must get published' shit that is obviously interfering with your creativity, but you won't quit. Some day, in some way, you will write, whether it's for publication or not, because, hey, you're a writer.

Kath Calarco said...

Well, there you go, Lainey, making me misty just reading your words. Thanks for the reminder that writing is more than something I do - it's something I am. Yep, voices in my head and all that. They will always spill onto the pages, won't they?

(((HUGS))) BACK AT YA my friend. :-)

Robin said...

More hugs here, Kath ~ and Lainey put things beautifully. I write because I love to write, can't imagine not doing it. If I get published one day, great! But if not, I'm doing something I truly enjoy, something I love, and a lot of people can't say that. I feel lucky. Do what makes you happy, Savvy. That's the bottom line.

Thinking of ya lots!

Kath Calarco said...

My whining brings out the best in my friends, and Bink, you know how to show the love. Thanks for the HUG. I feel it. Love ya back.

This morning I woke up feeling much, much better about the entire writing thing, which shows me the importance of sharing my angst publicly.

Edie Ramer said...

Kath, I read this yesterday and didn't answer until today. I needed to let it sink in, and Lainey already said what I'd want to say. And probably better.

Like Lainey and Robin, I write because it's what I want to do. Of course I want to get published, but rejections don't stop me. The market doesn't stop me. It's the writing itself that keeps me going. My faith in myself.

Good luck and more hugs coming at you!

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, you realize you're one of my biggest inspirations, right? Do one depicts perseverance better than you, in my humblest of opinions.

My blog piece hung with me throughout the day and into the night. Nagging, as if saying, "Look, life happens and recently it swarmed you, so lighten up." From my dog dying, to still not selling the other house, school, daughter moving back home... OY! Yes, life tries so hard to swallow us, but I think doing what makes up happiest keeps life from swallowing us whole.

Writing always made me happy. It's up to me to recognize that life is gonna happen, and to control what I can of it so it doesn't devour my dreams.

Marcia Colette said...

One thing I've learned over the years is that people get stuck on the definition of who's a "real writer" and who isn't. Sorry, but once you start putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard, then you're a writer. It doesn't matter what you're intentions are. Many people write in journals everyday. We call them journalists or whatever. Does that means they're not writers, only of a different form? That's where the definition breaks down for me, and I think it's a crock for anyone to don their writer's crown and deem who is a writer and who isn't. They need to worry about what's festering in their own backyard and stay out of others. Shame on them for forgetting they were once--or still are--in our shoes where, as Lainey put it, they were taking "500 steps and discovered 499 of 'em did nothing but move you sideways--or backwards."

I write because I love it just like I love going to amusement parks and horror movies...only it's cheaper thrill. ;-) I'm writing for publication because I think I have some cool stories to share. After all, reading someone else's books and wishing their worlds were real had sparked the imagination fire in me. I'd like to return the wonderful favor to a whole new generation.

*hugs back at ya, hon* :-)

Kath Calarco said...

"After all, reading someone else's books and wishing their worlds were real had sparked the imagination fire in me. I'd like to return the wonderful favor to a whole new generation."

Beautiful thought, Marcia! I've wished the same, too, wanting to transform myself in a "Walk through the looking glass" manner. You know what I mean? And what a fabulous way to honor an author - they've made a reader want to live within the pages they produced.

Just another reason to write for publication and forget about the crap that goes into getting there, whether it'd be via e-pub or paper-pub. ;-)

Robin said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better about things! Life is crazy, but carving out some time to do something that makes you feel good is really important. Often easier said than done, but if the thought is there, you'll come back to it. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts, Kath. And know you're never alone!

Have a great weeked!

Natasha Fondren said...

Do you know that when I joined RWA, I felt pressured to reveal to them my pseudonym, following which I was unable to pen a single word for six months? LOL! :-)

I've been caught in that real writer/not junk before, even though I've been paid for every world I've ever written. No, don't get discouraged. I'm convinced it's because the universe wanted me to be a writer and KNEW that I was such a weakling that I would have never made it on any other path.

I put "protect the writing" as my number one mantra. I eat foods that will keep my mind clear so I can write. I do yoga so I can focus to write. I arrange my life for writing. I delete all blogs from my reader that discourage me in any way, whether from complaining about the business or being "helpful" about imparting "realistic" knowledge about the industry. As a musician, I was taught to be practical about the arts, but spending my entire adulthood making my living by the arts, I've learned it's important to be impractical and passionate about them, too. I'm almost exclusively reading old and new childhood favorites this year just to recapture the magic.

Okay, really? What Lainey said.

Kath Calarco said...

Natasha, I'm so glad I aired my feelings here because it gained me such a wider perspective and point of view about writing. My blog is my confessional. It's where I come for encouragement.

And like you, I've deleted discouraging blogs from my reader. You know the kind - the ones that make the publishing road sound like suicide. Or, the ones who blah-blah-blah about what's in and what's out, etc. You know? They beat it to death and it makes me wonder why THEY write. lol.

Thanks for the advice and your effervescently positive outlook to things.