Tag Archives: optimism

It’s Not Paranoia If They Really Are Out To Get You

Remember when I posted pictures of my office that I built out of plastic storage bins and blankets?

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*sigh*

Well, this is my office as of yesterday around lunch time:

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Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

On Sunday, I posted what we’ll call my best-laid plans for getting a certain book ready for publication. I was getting back to my office (which had been too cold to work in since January), I was organized, I had a GAME PLAN.

On Tuesday evening, I went downstairs to work. I was moving the laundry over when I noticed a small pond near the dehumidifier. There was a wee “dangit!” moment when I thought the unit was leaking, but I got to cleaning it up before it could spread.

…and then I noticed a separate pool in the play room.

Half an hour later I was standing in freezing water that covered the toes of my rainboots in low spots, and that was slowly creeping toward MY AREA. It was also encroaching on the space occupied by our brand new, purchased-because-emergency washer and dryer.

What happened in the hours that followed was a frenzy of me following The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘s advice: “DON’T PANIC.” Really. If there was any doubt that my depression is improving, this was proof that I really am feeling better. Sure, I freaked out a little, but I delegated everything involving phone calls to AJ* and took over whatever else I could. When we moved beyond Shop-Vac territory, I got to work moving stuff upstairs and above the ever-rising water line. By midnight we had a neighbour’s sump pump going, and the water level seemed to have at least stopped rising.

By morning we were at six inches of water in spots. I FORMULATED A PLAN (come on, I deserve a few caps here), got AJ to help me implement the parts that involved getting the washer, dryer, and freezer up on to plastic bins, delegated more phone calls (to insurance and the landlord-type-people**), and took more stuff out of my office and hauled it upstairs.

Yadda yadda, contractors came late yesterday afternoon, we found out we’re on a septic system (would’ve been good to know) which is having issues with the insane amount of snow that’s melted in the past few days, there are other problems, and it might be three weeks before we can move back into our house. Oh, and insurance won’t cover contents of the basement that we lost.

Um.

So about those best laid plans.

If I were the type who thought in a certain way, I’d say this was a sign I wasn’t meant to get this book out. SOMEONE or SOMETHING in the universe is throwing up roadblocks! It’s not meant to be! I don’t think that way, and I know the timing is coincidental, but it sure feels like that.

If I had another way of thinking, I might decide that if I can just THINK POSITIVELY, all of the problems will go away and the house will be toasty warm and smelling like roses in no time.

I’m taking a slightly different course of thought and action.

I’ve decided that this is the story I’m going to be telling in ten years when people ask about publishing my first book. I’ll be able to laugh about it by then, and I’ll talk about how this was important enough to me that I took my work wherever we went. Right now that’s my in-laws’ house, but in a few days it’ll be on vacation at my parents’ house at the other end of the province, and after that it might be in a hotel 45 minutes away from home. I’ll say that I had to drive the kids back for school every day, but I worked in the school library, the still-kinda-stinky house, wherever (my kingdom for a local coffee shop!).

Stephen King wrote Carrie when he lived in a trailer with two kids and had no money. JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter as a single mother and lost her job somewhere in there. How can I offer my future fans anything less than all of my determination and the hardest work I’ve ever done on anything? Damned if I’m going to say, “Well, things went to shit and I took a few weeks off.”

That’s not to say that I’ll be sticking to my ROW80 goals exactly, because the kids are going to need a lot more hands-on time in the next few weeks, there will be a lot of driving time, and other things are sure to come up (God help us).

The point is, I’m staying thankful (more on that in a later post), and I’m not going to let this stop me.

After all…

plot-twist

 

Oh, but if I’m slow at responding to comments or e-mails, and if I drop out of the A-Z challenge after my scheduled posts dry up, you’ll know why. 😉

 

 

*If I’ve learned anything else from this, it’s the extent of my phobia. RIDICULOUS.

**Our house is owned by the government, who is Andre’s boss. It’s… interesting.

 


I’ve Got a Dream

Some of you will disagree with everything I say here, and that’s okay. I hope this doesn’t get too depressing for anyone. It’s not meant to be. This is what happens when reality gently taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of what’s important. (I’ve re-written this post four times already, I’m done.)

Let’s start with this, because it’s amazing:

Damn, I love me some Flynn Rider.

Those guys have dreams. Perhaps not realistic dreams, but they’ve got ’em. Don’t we all? I know I do, and I know (because I’m a little psychic because I read your wonderful blogs) that many of you share my dream. Not for me– for yourselves.

We want to write. We want other people to read and love what we write, and we’d really like to get recognition and at least a wee bit of money for that. We want to see our books on a shelf and go, “Yes, that’s mine. I did that.” And then if you’re me, dissolve into a puddle of tears because this is what you’ve always wanted.

Doesn’t sound like so much to ask, does it? Some of you are laughing right now because you know that it IS a lot to ask, and it’s a hard dream to have. And it’s a dream that an unbelievable number of people share, all of them caring as much about their work and believing in it as hard as I do mine. I find this very humbling.

It’s a great dream, don’t get me wrong. When you love what you’re doing and there are examples in front of you every day of people just like you making it, getting their books published and turning into massive bestsellers, you think, why not me? When you get to the part where you’re collecting rejections, there are stories of those very same authors and books getting  just as many rejections. You think, “it’s part of the process.” Well, I assume you do. I don’t have much experience with this part yet, but I will, one way or another. We all do, if we put our stuff out there.

We maintain hope, but  at the same time, we understand that for most of us, it’s not going to happen. Whether because we’re deluding ourselves when we think our work is good enough (not you guys, your work is the cat’s pajamas. I’m saying me and those shady-looking writers over there), or because of a variety of factors beyond our control*, we’ll be lucky to see our beloved words in print.

Oh, we can skew the odds in our favor, for sure. We can read up on writing craft (and read everything else we can get our grubby mitts on and learn from), we can make our work the best it can be, we can market the heck out of it, we can go to conventions** and meet agents or editors who just might remember us if we make a super-good impression, we can spend hours and days crafting the perfect query letter. We can hire great editors and take their advice, we can find amazing cover artists and devise the perfect pricing strategy. It makes a difference. It doesn’t guarantee success.

Depressed yet? I’m not.

There’s a kind of freedom, for me at least, in knowing that the odds are long and the road hard, in understanding that some things are beyond my control, and that that’s absolutely, perfectly fine. It helps me understand the difference between goals and dreams. Writing the best books you can and doing the best you can for them, that’s a worthwhile goal. Having a bestseller that’s made into a blockbuster movie and then there’s the money and let’s say a super hot actor falls in love with the author behind it all (hey, why not, right?) is a dream. If it keeps you going, it’s a good dream. It’s not a reasonable goal, though, and we’re all going to be mighty disappointed if we make that kind of luck and success a goal we expect to achieve.

Optimism is necessary, and it’s fantastic. Realism is, too, but in a different way. I say we need both.

This brings me to another, tangentially related topic. You know those people who seem to pop up on every agent’s blog asking what the next big thing is going to be, as though they can write it to order and be guaranteed an agent/contract/publication/bestseller? That’s hilarious, isn’t it? Kind of adorable.

There’s a reason they say to write what you love, and to write because you love it, not because you think you could be the next Stephanie Meyer if only you could catch the wave of the next trend in publishing. Odds are you’ll put a lot of work into something you don’t actually care about, and have little to show for it. No matter what you do, books that aren’t as good as yours will probably rise higher. It sucks, but it happens (not mentioning any names). But if you love what you do, believe in your stories and feel passionately that this is what you’re meant to be doing, you’re not wasting your time. Whatever level of commercial or critical success you achieve (or don’t), you’ve done something worthwhile.

I like that idea.

So yes, I’ll polish up this book that I’m working on, wash its face and send it out into the world, telling it to play nice with the other kids (but not too nice) and not to trade its carrot sticks for cookies in the lunch room. And then I’ll get back to work on the next one, because that’s what I do.

Publishing may sometimes seem like an exercise in futility (and I’ve deleted paragraphs outlining why this is so, you’re very welcome), but writing never is. Not if it’s what you love.

*(that agent just signed someone and doesn’t care to add another just now; your book isn’t on-trend and the publisher doesn’t want to take a chance; you decide to self-publish and through the whims of fate and Amazon your book never gets any exposure)

**If you can do this, I’ll try to only hate you a little for it.


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