For Amber...

10:03 AM Elizabeth Seckman 19 Comments


Fellow blogger Amber, at Unyielding, had a wonderful post about the true inspiration behind being a writer. The day I read it, I had received a rejection on a new piece of work that I had quite a bit of hope in. The rejection came with the frustrating simplicity of, "The time period is not one I have much luck with."

It took me months to write that book. And it was rejected for the TIME PERIOD?!

Sure let me get right on changing that....NOT.

So, yes, I was in a bad place. Then I read Amber's post and it was a gentle reminder that I had my row of ducks walking backward. I write because I love to write and I would do it for free. I am doing it for free right here. But we sometimes forget and become obsessed with selling. We become desperate mail junkies checking in boxes like we're looking for crack and we get our high when it's there only to crash when it says, "sorry writer, this isn't right for my line".

It reminds me of watching Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the Oprah show. They had written a little screen play which wasn't getting too much love in the literary world, then boom...here comes the Oscar winning "Good Will Hunting". She asked if they knew when they wrote it that they were creating a block buster. I think it was Ben who said, they just wrote what they knew, about people they knew, and they were so hungry to sell they would have taken a cheeseburger for it. They wrote out of passion. They wrote to tell a story.

So, here's the way I see it. Insecurity goes hand in hand with writing, maybe we're a sensitive lot; maybe it's the abuse we take with the abundance of no and harsh critiques...whatever it is, I have found most of us are just a wee bit obsessive about what will make us 'for real' writers. At what point are we validated and worthy. Is it a royalty check, an advance, adoring readers?

Well, maybe it's none of those things.

And that's why Amber's post spoke volumes to me. We have to remember the reason we write, and for most of us, it's not for the money.

That said, I hate to admit this, but the little voice of insecurity doesn't seem to go away, even after the contract is signed.It's just a new bag of insecurities...will it sell, will they start to edit and decide they made a mistake...things like that.

But when we remember WHY we are writing, and for most of us money has nothing to do with it...then I say write and publish wherever and whenever you can...small press, shorts, articles, blog posts...whatever conduit of expression you can find, use. And enjoy.

If we only focus on the top ten list as the measure of success, we'll be in trouble. Few make it there. We have to live the day, accept the success we have for that day and remember, it's not about the money.

And if it is...every time you send a query, buy a lottery ticket so you can double your chances of hitting that pot of gold.

19 comments:

  1. That was very uplifting! I love the story about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck - it always inspires me.

    I too write because I like writing. To make money from it would be incredible, but for now, I want to focus on creating the best work I can. :)

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    1. I tried to find the clip of them on You Tube, but couldn't. I remember watching them and they were so doggone happy! Can't blame them.

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  2. Beautiful post, Elizabeth. I'm sorry you went through those rejections. It's always better when you get to the other side, but man, in the meantime, life sucks.
    So, have you bought that lottery ticket yet? : )

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    1. Of course, I buy 1 lottery ticket a week. And on the other side, there's a whole different bag of anxiety...is this the best home for my baby? Will it sell? Will anyone ever buy a second book if the first flops?

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  3. Mark Twain advised new writers to write for themselves until someone paid them to do it. Exercise those mental muscles! Stay the course with your dream. The waters are rocky right now. But as my young hero, Victor Standish, says, "Impossible just gives birth to legends!" :-)

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  4. I hate the selling part of writing. All of your passion reduced down to dollar signs. I think it's impossible to write something worthwhile if you don't have passion. Keep going! Someone will be into that time period.

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    1. And we have the frustrating reality of taste being a factor. I mean we have to decide every time we browse the book aisles, many good choices, but what jumps out and grabs us? We have to deal with that when we are selling to the editors then again to the readers.

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  5. That made my week!!!Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and now to hear how things have turned around for you is so inspiring. I hate that I am coming to the end of my story because it will become about selling it. I'd rather write, and pass on the selling. But I know that wouldn't be fair to my story and the characters. I want them to be shared :) I have decided if, within a year, there are no nibbles and I have edited till it gleams- I will publish it on amazon for free. Sharing the story is more important than profitting from it :). But that's why an agent is so wonderful because they get the story out in a way you never could on your own. I'm so happy for you. (Maybe God wanted your heart in the right place, before he gave you that gift :)-It's funny how just days after reading that post you got signed! WHO-HOO!

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    1. If you have no nibbles in a year, keep casting the pole the next year too. And don't count out e books. I truly think we are on the verge of a huge revolution in publishing.

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  6. Yes, rejections are hard. But you're right, we have to remember why we're doing this. Great post!

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    1. And learn from the rejections (the ones kind enough to give reasons)...my manuscript changed with each bit of input.

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  7. You're absolutely right; no reason to change the time period of your manuscript. Sorry about the rejection, but keep on going. Like you say, it ain't about the money.

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    1. Some changes are easy, but to change a whole time period? Well, I'll just have to keep looking for other people who are into Civil War era.

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  8. Rejection can be so frustrating, but it can help us grow. Amber has an amazing blog and is so inspiring. I need to make sure I read that post. I need motivation all the time! It's hard not to get frustrated, even without rejection. We have to keep believing in ourselves, and loving what we're doing!

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    1. Always remember, the best of them got their fair share of R's. It's how we earn our stripes.

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  9. Your post is at just the right time for me as I try to find a home for my second fantasy series. Thanks.

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    1. Good luck with that Susan. Keep me posted. I want to be one of the first ones to say congratulations!

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  10. I always need inspiring posts like these. Last night I had a horrible nightmare about rejection. It woke up up twice. I wish I was kidding. lol. One day though, all of my dreams will be about my book being published!

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