“Help, is there a way to get off this thing? I need a barf bag… oh wait, no… never mind! This is fun!”
What is true for a rollercoaster, can also be true for my writing life. Since I really started dipping my toes, feet, ankles and now –knees- into the publishing pool, I seem to have turned into a bit of a mental case. The plethora of emotions I experience on a daily basis, would make the average soap opera character jealous.
And yet I would not change it for the world. Not even those days where I have to struggle with a difficult edit. And trust me, those days are not good for my ego. When I get the paper I wrote back, and it is so full of red (and in my case also blue for punctuation) ink, that it looks like a smurf is bleeding to death. When I look at my work and think: Did I get any of this right? Of course when you dig in deeper, it’s not as bad as you think, and most of the red ink is suggestions, and some are even compliments… so it’s all good in the end. But it’s never easy when you hear that a character is nice, but utterly useless to the storyline. Or that things make your story drag.
Those are the moments where I buck up, take it on the chin and get to work. And I do it again, and again, and again… until I get it right and I get nice remarks from my editor. Not a fun process, and it hurts the old ego, I can tell you. But it’s a sacrifice that needs to be made for the story, and I gladly make it. Because… in the end, I put something out there that I am proud of.
And it’s not fun dealing with the critiques of others. People who tell you that your work is not really work, even though you spend an average of 12 hours a day behind your computer and gave up most of your free time just to get these stories out. I wake up in the morning, and my first thoughts are of work. (Unless my daughter is up before me, then it’s she who takes my thoughts, but I tend to be up early)
There are people who don’t like my work. It’s fair enough, but it isn’t always easy. As a writer you want the whole world to love your stuff. Completely impossible, but still… we do. And getting feedback from people who don’t like the way you write, it can be hard, and even harsh. And there are a lot of people that want to give ‘tips’. Some are really useful, but a lot of the time, they are not, and they are confusing because they might completely contradict the advice someone else gave you.
Though it’s not just critique, because my roller coaster has incredible highs too! And loops and curves and they make me soar!! There are compliments and nice reviews by people who you did not expect it from. There are editors from anthologies, inviting me to write for them (that still blows my mind) There are exciting projects in store and great, FANTASTIC things… and oh I feel the wind in my hair when I get to those high points.
That makes up for the crazy obsession which it is to be an artist. And I want to shout things off rooftops on a daily basis. And I want to hug great people who aid me through great things. It is all marvelous and scary and hard and easy at the same time.
I love this rollercoaster of a job. I may need a barf bag at times, and I might spill a few tears. But it’s mine and it makes me happy.