A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view, a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.
Junot Diaz, O Magazine, November 2009
My husband asked me, after I received my third rejection in two weeks, if I was still having fun. It was a curious question for me to consider. Was I still having fun?
“Why did you ask me that?” I responded.
“I just don’t want you to get all stressed about writing and discouraged.” What a sweetheart!
Well, yeah, not only did I have the rejection letters (e-mails, actually), but I had just dumped 200 pages of my novel to start all over again. I could see why he might be worried about me. But I have beau coups persistence and resilience. This is the life path I chose (Or did it choose me?), and I am just fine.
Sure, I wish I had snagged an agent or book contract from that last conference I attended. But I have another conference coming up, and I have some specific feedback via my rejections that should help me shape better stories.
And starting that novel all over again . . . well, what a great chance to reconceptualize my book and to get to know another character better.
Am I a “glass half-full” kinda gal? Not really. I’m more of a let me fill up another glass and then I have this one half-full and another one full up! I’ll be able to use some of those 200 pages in this new book. So this book, Pastabilities, should be quicker to pen than the dumped one, right?
I can’t not write. It is part of my identity. It took me years to claim fiction author as an identity because people think that must mean you are published. But I claim fiction author as firmly as I claim non-fiction author (my published works). I tell people I am an unpublished-as-yet author of fiction and a playwright.
I know all about the odds of breaking into print with a novel. Debut authors are harder and harder to come by as the publishing houses tighten belts and go with established authors. But, it is not impossible. And I will defy the odds. And you will be buying my books and wondering what took me so long to make it to your bookstore.