First off, the winner! Thank you all for stopping by and checking out the interview and for all of your RTs. It's awesome to see the growing excitement for not only Pam Bachorz's CANDOR, but DROUGHT as well! Even if you don't win, I hope you head out and buy one to a million copies. It's worth it. So! Who pleased the RNG (random number generator) gods most this week? Drumroll, please.
drrrrrrrrrrrdrrrrdrdrdrdrr... (how do you write a drumroll?)
Congrats, Sylvia! A winner is you! Send me your address at kmcriddle (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll get those to you right away. Now, onto some thinking.
I know this doesn't come as a surprise, but the life of a writer is weird. And sometimes sad. I remember writing a report on Jack London back in 5th grade (I loved me those wolves...and one of my career aspirations was to be a gold miner) and I was startled to see how unhappy his personal life was. Divorce, heartbreak, riotous drinking, imprisonment and early death. Pick any brilliant writer out from the list history gives us and you'll see similar stories. Heck, studies show that the creative writer is often more prone to mental illness than the normal human being; it's called the "Sylvia Plath effect". (I've written Sylvia so many times in this post.)
But I think some of this craziness, at least for me, comes from trying to horn my writing into the existing world in some way (read: publication). Querying, revising, submitting, BEING on submission--all of this is a way for someone to tell you NO. You're doing it wrong. That's not correct. No one will read this. This doesn't make sense. Let's put that one aside for now. I'm not sure the market's ready for this. This has been done a million times before. Am I missing any? We like to say "I write for myself and no one else" but our mind doesn't always accept that excuse and we're back to comparing ourselves to the rest of the world, trying to be the next best thing. Even if we are the next best thing, sometimes it comes from trying to live back up to that standard. Every success comes with more stress and handling it logically is not often something that creative writers can do...ahem...gracefully.
My recent way of dealing with this? I've taken to telling myself that I'm not just a writer. To put all my eggs in the holey, ever shifting, broken handled basket that is the profession of "writing" is just trouble. It's what I do, but it's not who I am. I'm a reader, a mother, a wife, an artist, a human rice cooker, a traveler...get it? You get it. Every bit of my experience in those fields might make me a better writer, but heaven forbid that such a small, fuzzy label can define me. When I tell myself that writing is not the end all be all in my professional life, the rejection is easier to take. It's still hard, but it's not the end of my life and sanity.
I think my rambling has squirreled off into parts unknown now. Time to go turn off the oven.
How do you handle the stress of being a writer? Do you even have stress over it? WHAT IS YOUR SECRET AND WILL YOU BOTTLE IT AND SELL IT TO ME?
Sigh. I'm off to feed the ducks.