Those who know me mostly see the upbeat, almost to the point of perky, side of me. I'm everybody's cheerleader in a business which is rife with rejection and disappointment -- at ALL levels. When a writer friend is struggling with their manuscript, I'm there to talk them through the issues to help them get back on track. When rejection comes a-knocking, I'm there to offer encouragement to keep on plugging away. And rejection comes to us all. But, for the most part, rejection doesn't get to me. It's part of the business and it's something I take and move on from immediately. And another thing we share in the writing business is doubt... we doubt our ability to put what we have in our head down on the page as we see it. We harshly judge ourselves and are harshly judged by others. (Why do we do this to ourselves... oh yeah, because we have to get the story out.)
People tend to be surprised when I express my occasional doubts about my abilities. Which usually makes me smile in a bittersweet way. Because I do ENJOY spreading positive cheer and I love to banish doubt, but I am a writer too, so prey to doubts & insecurity just as much as the next writer. Fortunately for me, these bouts are infrequent and short-lived. Today I am in the grip of discouragement. I'm not easily discouraged, but it does happen on occasion, and usually with my writing. That is not the case today.
I'm in the middle of a blog tour for my newest release, Tattered and this book has been a long journey for me. With all of the ups and downs that I've had during the writing/revising/editing of this book, it wouldn't surprise me to have doubt strangling me about this point over whether the book was ready to release. Oddly, I feel rock solid about the book itself. My melancholy today was brought on by feelings of inadequacy to get the word out about this book. How can I shout loud enough to be heard over the holiday bustle? Activity around the internet has been frenetic. Everyone is pushing their products, offering deals, shouting out good tidings to all. The activity is swirling all around and I feel like a blade of grass in a stormy river, whisked along at a frightening speed toward the whirlpool funnel, struggling desperately to reach the safety of the shore. How can I rise above?
I recently had someone compare my books to food. They are a taste that most people haven't yet experienced. And sometimes when we haven't tasted something, we fear it. We're afraid we won't like it, that the taste will be too foreign. But then when we do taste, we may have found another favorite food, something we can't believe we've ever lived our lives without. It won't strike everyone the same way, but that's okay -- it's why we have variety. There is no doubt that my books are not the average young adult fare. I don't think it makes them less than, just as I don't think it makes them superior. It just makes them different. It's also one of the reasons I chose to take the path to publication with them I did. I knew they'd be a hard sell, and in the current industry upheaval, would be near impossible to place. But I know these books have a purpose and need to be read. I believe in my work -- in fact, now more than ever. Which is why today I feel discouraged about being lost in the crowd. But in addition to having the sunny-side-up personality, I also have an innate inability to give up. So today I may go swirling down the whirlpool, but tomorrow I will have figured out a way to climb onto shore. I may lie there for a moment, catching my breath, but then I'll get up and continue on the journey once more. The books are like a present, all shiny and tied up with a bow, containing the unknown -- you have to open them to find the gift inside.