Oh Insecure Writer’s Support Group, you’ve taught me things. When I first started down this journey, I was so very jealous. I was trading manuscripts with people and our work seemed to be on par. Then, very quickly, those people all got agents. Then they got book deals. They were suddenly the shit, and I was twiddling my thumbs (if you count writing five more books twiddling).
I was so jealous of those people. I assaulted myself with all the feels because I couldn’t, or wouldn’t understand my own jealousy. I let myself think the terrible thoughts: I’m not good enough. I’m completely delusional about my talent. The world is out to get me. It really is about who you know. I thought those things and more, my jealousy festering inside me. It was dark, but those times were tinged with another darkness that had nothing to do with writing. Doubt fogged every pair of glasses I used to view the world.
I went on to publish my first book, and I’ve written about how I didn’t think it was a really real success. In fact, it’s been the problem all along. I can see the success of others, but never my own. I think that all the success I receive is part of some participation award, and everyone else was living the highlife. Better published, better written, better agented. Everyone seemed to be posting their Agent call, or their call with their editors—somehow, all of my success came with an email, never a phone call. Was I defective? How come my success looked different? That’s right, because my success wasn’t really success at all.
Then, publishing turned, as it always does, and those people I was jealous of started to be ground under the wheel of publishing. I had thought those people had made it. I’d thought their dreams were coming true. And for many of them, it did. But for others, Publishing did the thing publishing does, it moved on. Agents left. Books died in editing. One of those people had a whole writing career—agent, books, big promo—and then said peace out and deleted all of her social media profiles. She no longer publishes. (Odd side note, there are three people who fit this description, five if you relax the circumstances a tad to just let those sites go dormant).
Which is to say, Publishing is hard. It takes people’s dreams and destroys them on occasion. I don’t see their paths as successes anymore. It must be hard to get an agent and then lose an agent in the span of a couple months. I know more than one person whose book died in editing at a major house—these are the stuff of nightmare—but I coveted their place and success because I have always had a hard time seeing other paths as successes.
It’s been hard to learn to look through my doubt colored glasses and see the world. There’s more ways to success, and it’s important to remember that what looks like success on the outside might actually be a complete pile of dog poo on the inside. Doubt changes what you see in others and yourselves.
Be sure to visit the Ninja Captain, Alex and to thank this month's Co-hosts: Tamara Narayan,Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!
Happy Writing, everyone. (Psst, did you know next month is A to Z??? Where has the time gone!)