I hate writers who complain. I talk a lot on my blog about how writing is the best thing in the world, we should be grateful we have the talent to do it, we knew what we were getting into when we started this, buck up and get back to work.
It’s a lot easier to preach optimism when you’re on top of the world, instead of in the dumps… which is where I am right now.
I blame my pessimistic mood on my new favorite website, “Book Pregnant.” It’s written by debut authors who talk about their experiences as they enter the world of publishing. I love reading about them seeing their book cover for the first time, getting their agents, etc. In fact, it’s exactly how I envisioned my blog when I started it a year and a half ago.
As much as I enjoy it, the site depresses me. When I read posts about getting agents, I think to myself, “That was supposed to happen to me when I started querying a year and a half ago.” When I read about getting editors, I think, “That was supposed to happen to me a year ago.” When I read about book launches, I think, “That was supposed to happen to me six months ago.”
Then there’s the worst of all: When I read about book signings and tours, I think to myself, “That should be happening to me right now.”
My biggest problem is an irrational sense of entitlement. I’m “supposed” to get published when I have the skills I need to write a good book. I do not have those skills yet. Ergo, here I am.
A voice in my head keeps telling me the same thing: “What are you so peeved about? You’re the one who decided to rewrite your book. You’re the one who needs to work on your craft. Every writer goes through this. Who are you mad at? Agents, the world, or yourself?”
I remember one time I came back from roller derby practice depressed because I wasn’t improving as fast as I thought I should be. My first practice was my first time putting on skates, so I was way behind the other girls. My husband told me I was too much of a perfectionist.
“Me?!” I asked. I have never once in my life been called a perfectionist. I’m one of those just-get-it-done people. “I am not a perfectionist!” I said.
“You are with things you care about. You put too high expectations on yourself.”
Maybe he’s right. Maybe I need to relax. But it was a proud moment when my roller derby team gave me the award for Most Improved Player of the Year.
There’s nothing wrong with me being disappointed in myself for a while, but when it comes to my book, I’m going to tell myself the same thing I would tell any writer in my situation:
Buck up. Get back to work.