Monday, July 11, 2016

Warring States: Welcome to the Writer's Life

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There's a popular hashtag on Twitter that I've been using with more and more frequency. It's the #writerslife tag, and a plethora of topics and subjects fall under this heading.

Had the best word count in a month?

Had 3 entire pots of coffee/tea while trying to revise your manuscript?

Had a discussion on the merits of elemental magic in politics?

At first, my feed was filled with positive or neutral tweets documenting my life as a writer. But now that I’m putting myself out there in things like pitch contests and querying, my feed is now sprinkled with things like:

Broke out in the nervous sweat after sending out my MS to betas.

Got rejected (again) to have a short story or poem published.

Going between extremes of “Please read my work/love my book baby!” to “Oh gosh, this is the biggest, steaming pile of what’s-it, and I think I’ll just go hide under a rock now.”

Point is, I sincerely believe that most writers fluctuate in regards to their emotional states and how they view their writing. For me personally, writing leaves me in a very vulnerable state. I tend to see a kind of permanence in printed word. The words I put on the paper, the ideas and struggles I put my characters through, it all has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere happens to be the very lens I use to view and receive the world around me. 

That's why writing is scary. That’s why it takes so much courage to put yourself out there for others to read your work.

So, dear fellow writer, do not feel in the least bit that you are alone in your struggles and in your fears and worries. Reach out to your support group (Twitter is my main writing support platform) and discuss things you have in common. You may be surprised by how many people feel exactly the same way you do, published author or not. No matter where your life takes you, if you write, you are a writer. You are not a failure.

Of course, I'm not recommending you to take up social media to disparage or put down others or anything negative like that. The world is negative enough without people being hurtful to one another. Sending hateful tweets or posts to an agent who rejected you is not the way to go.

There are days that you feel utterly invigorated and the words flow freely. But then there are other days when you just want to curl up on the couch and binge-watch Netflix to numb the feeling of your X-number of rejections.

All of these feelings are perfectly normal. 

As a writer of fantasy, these two extremes form a double-edged sword. And while I typically love all things steely and sharp for my worlds and my characters, I have no desire to stand on that edge with my own emotions. So for now, my goals are straightforward: finish revising this MS in time for #PitchWars, and make a conscious effort to undergo self-care in the meanwhile. 

And I'm here to tell you that you can reach your goals, too. We just have to give it our all, no matter how discouraged we may feel.

Welcome to the world of the #writerslife. I’ll put a kettle of tea and a pot of coffee on for you.

What do you do when you're feeling discouraged when writing? Answer in the comments or find me on Twitter

As always, may your words be great and your pages many.☆

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