I think I’m a loser, and you can’t stop me!
I think my author results are currently kind of pathetic, and that I haven’t won or earned the results I want: this makes me a loser. It even stings a little to declare, because after another rejection I realize: I’m very strange, and so much of my sense of self is wound up in this thing that I so so so want results for.
But after thinking should I give up on this, the answer is really no.
Sure, I considered giving up. Cause I AM silly, the question is just how. Well, I imagine this latest non-form might be like your kid getting the worst report card and it looking like they’ll never do well in school, when it’s the only job you gave them.
I guess that’s strange or something, but that’s how it felt.
The deal is just another form rejection. It sucks because a *hopeful* question in response to that update (it’s an update) is did that rejection come with any feedback or reason why. The answer is no — it’s a form rejection. The entire point is to be devoid of direct feedback and disengage politely. And form rejections can mean many things. They can mean you have mistakes you’re making again and again. They can mean you’re querying the wrong agent. They can mean the agent is absolutely disappointed in you and that you’re submitting shitty drivel. They can mean that you just missed the mark and should tidy it up and if you have A DAMNED GOOD REASON that your work should be revisited and the balls to do so, that maybe you can go back (but probably not.)
For people like me, they can be a little crazy making because you can see all these things at once. It’s like you can adjust that part of your brain to tune into that portion of the spectrum of that the rejection letter reveals – because those things are as helpful at letting you see the quality of your own writing as a prism, I think.
I considered sending a polite reply asking for any feedback after that careful read. Part of me still does. But I woke up today and figured I’d want to make it more bulletproof.
I think I’m more willing to shift gears, because my m.s. isn’t a baby. It’s not a living thinking thing of growing sentience that needs guidance rather than skillful, near-magic engineering. I think a better analogy is, it’s like building a battlebot.
Yeah, humans don’t just expel battlebots.
And you know, it’s really tempting when you’re an ambitious tryhard to give it all these cool extra things. My battlebot is definitely ed209ish, which means there are situations where being beefy is a hazard. Like, for example, a debut author on a bookshelf. (You have to wonder about that. If you think the reason 300k word tombs from debut authors don’t exist on basic bookstore shelves is because new writers don’t write them, you’re very mistaken.) Like characters with middle eastern names. Characters who’re former pornstars. Characters who show they’re depressed by laying around a lot. Basically, characters who are characters. I think in the process of publishing, extra bells and whistles can easily make for environmental hazards. These are merely things to reconsider, maybe cut, and if not, definitely do best.
Yeah, if publishing is a refining vehicle, you’re better off treating your ms as a battlebot I think. Not your baby.
A parent is rarely willing to detach parts from their baby. I think if a baby is born with 11 digits, a parent might often think: “Do I REALLY need to get rid of that abnormality I mean look my baby is so beautiful!” which makes that abnormality more of a question instead of a feature that could be normalized, and a parent might forget more easily to ignore that subjective beauty, because every part is supposed to serve a function.
So, I don’t know. I have a little (but seriously, at this point just a little) time to see about these bells and whistles.
Yesterday, feeling like a loser made me reconsider and re-evaluate a little more. Today it makes me want to bring out the angle grinder and sandpaper and re-evaluate these eccentricities, and it was the first thing I did.
I seriously thought about moving forward with my life and minimizing the amount of energy I’ve put into making this project really become a something.
The answer is still hell no.
2 thoughts on ““What the hell am I doing here?””
Please don’t give up on your dreams. I don’t know if you remember the conversation we had when you went back to work after spending a lot of time on your manuscript, where I was worried your dreams would languish on the side lines. Same sentiment. Rejection is hard. Don’t let it destroy the things you love. I’m glad you’re choosing not to. Pursuing your dreams is challenging, scary and heartbreaking. It’s for the brave. Don’t discount that.
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But Quitting something your heart believe in is like a type of suicide, and I’m not the type.
Evaluating, working harder, re-evaluating, changing: yes. Quitting, newp.