I'm not the only one to crash into the sun and live to fight another day
The journey that I've been on so far has been eye-opening, humbling, gratifying, and heart-twisting. When I started entering contests, pitchwars and the like, I started to enjoy the recognition for my writing. Then I started to crave it. I began to write more and more, carving into my free time, family time, sleep time. As much as I love writing, it was starting to get in the way. I saw it. My friend saw it. My husband saw it. But I wanted so badly to think that it wasn't just a fluke that an agent signed me. I wanted to believe that my writing was good enough to get another agent. An agent better suited to my writing, my genre choice, and my personality. I still want to find that agent and am hopeful I will. However, I've finally stepped back a tiny bit and found some perspective. I don't want writing to be something that consumes me. Rather, it is supposed to calm me. There's a line in a song that I love (Breathe by Anna Nalik) that says: "If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to". Writing has always been an outlet for me, a way to say what couldn't be said. Not always meant for sharing, but in a sense, healing. I let that slip away for a while because I was writing for the wrong reasons. I can't say what particular moment made me stop and look, really look, at what I was doing to myself. I was allowing praise and rejections from agents and editors define my worth. I do this with other things in my life- I think we all do to some extent. It felt like when they were rejecting my work, they were rejecting me. Then I got an offer to publish my story in the anthology. I'm excited and proud. But essentially, it didn't change anything. Agents don't want me more now because I published one little story, I still have overwhelming moments of self-doubt, and overall, I don't write any differently.
I guess I realized that no matter what I publish, who signs me, or how far I take this, it's not going to change the essentials. I don't want to change who I am or be something I am not. I don't want to write just to appeal to a particular person or just to get attention. Realizing that the quality of my writing matters more than recognition for it was, in a sense, freeing. So while I had been looking away from self-publishing, thinking it said something less about me to try it, I've now decided that I'm okay with it. More than okay. I'm going to get to share my story, that I'm very proud of, with others. Maybe the only people who read it will be my friends and family, but it'll be there, on a list of holiday book choices available for download. None of this changes my desire to have an agent or my desire to push some of my stronger, more intricate work forward. However, it's made me see that I can do some of this my way for the simple reason that I'm proud enough of my work to want to share it and not just to catch someone's eye. I suppose I have come full circle, in a sense, and have gotten back to writing for me.
I'm not sorry for the journey so far: I've met far too many awesome people to be sorry. Also, putting my words out there, for praise or rejection, has made them stronger. It's made me stronger. The last rejection I got, I didn't even flinch. Because it wasn't about me, it was about my writing and, as hard as that is to separate in my heart, I've realized that it's not the same thing.
I'm hoping to have Forever Christmas uploaded to amazon and available in the first week or so of December...if you're interested. Do you have any thoughts on self publishing?