On perseverance

I’ve just clicked “send” on an email to a Canadian magazine that prints all sorts of (quite good) artsy-fartsy stuff like poetry and paintings and short stories.  Attached to my email was a Word document containing a brief bio and two of my very own shorts.  Afterward I sat back and experienced a sensation I know all too well from when I started querying magazines for nonfiction pieces.  It’s a sort of pull on my emotions in three distinct directions: relief, overt anxiety, and the nagging sense that I’ve no business sitting back in the first place, and I need to just get over it and get onto the next thing.

The annoying bit is that the nagging is more spot on than any of it.  In all likelihood, they will read my stories and think, “Oh, that’s nice,” just as they toss them into the recycling (assuming they felt them worthy of printing off in the first place, and they have a decent sense of responsibility to our planet).  That’s the truth, the fact that it equates to tiny little daggers poking into every square millimeter of my ego notwithstanding.  And so, gentle reader, wonderful reader, reader who reads me so regularly I could kiss you but you all live way too far away for that, what’s a girl to do?  Try to find balance, that’s what. Again.

I think it’s worth noting here that the act of enduring angst-ridden stress has to burn at least as many calories as studying, which apparently burns 126 calories per hour (incidentally, that works out to 1/5 of a Big Mac, my fast food-eating friends).  Being a nominally unsuccessful writer, then, has its perks, if one is interested in shedding a few pounds.  Still, I think it would be more advisable to be a successful writer with a good exercise regime.  Nevertheless, some things take their sweet-ass time in coming to fruition, and for the moment I can’t force the whole of the editing world to discover me at once.  It wouldn’t be polite.

Having said all of that in perhaps seven or eight gratuitously too many words, the point is this:  If I didn’t get all flustered about clicking “send” each and every time I communicate with an editor (and I do), perhaps that would take a bit of the fun out of it.  On the other hand, all of this pining is a little distracting to say the least.  Coming back to that first hand, I am thrilled at the thought of somebody reading my work and liking it.  Even more so than I am by omnivores raving about my culinary skills.  Even more than I like being told I’m pretty.  Even more than I like being right in an argument.  And – for those of you who don’t know where I’m from – that’s huge.  But that thrill comes at a price, which is exacted in my sweat and tears and upset tummy (which is sort of preferable to blood, if a little less romantic).  Once more to the second hand (confused?) – at least in the consumer magazine article pitching world, the most standard response is no response.  Which isn’t, if you think about it, very nice, really.  More importantly, it greatly exacerbates the anxiety.

Like it or not – and sometimes I do, while at others I find myself staring at the walls and wishing we didn’t rent if only so that I could bang my head repeatedly against them without worrying about the impact upon our deposit – it is what it is.  And I’m certainly in no position to start talking about changing the rules of a game I’m not even half-way sure yet how to play. So I’ll keep on typin’…and hopefully you lot’ll keep on readin’…virtual kisses all ’round.

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4 thoughts on “On perseverance

  1. suncitymom says:

    Lately when I can’t sleep I get up and read a book entitled Simply Living by Cecil Murphey. It’s a take on the book of Proverbs and what many of them actually mean to us in modern times. As I was reading last night, I thought of you as Cecil wrote: “One final point stems from my own experience. When I chose to lerave the pastorate after 14 years and become a full-time writr, I prepared as much as possible. Not only was I sselling regularly and lining up projects, I talked to successful entrepreneurs and then read articles and books by and about them. I discovered an interesting phenomenon among many who had become successful. They started with a dream—an assurance that they were going to make it. They willingly took the risks because they were convinced they could make their dreams come true.
    I especially enjoyed the parts where they wrote about the dark days. Most of them had thoses experiences as they were nearing the end of the road. They reached the place where they weren’t sure they would survive. Although they said it differently, the various statements went something like this:
    _I reached the place where I didn’t know if it was worth going on.
    -I was ready to give up and go get a job with a guaranteed salary.
    -I decided I was probably fooling myself and it was stupid to hold on.
    Yet those people eventually became successful! They didn’t quite, even though their candles burned low. Even when the candles barely flickered, something kept them burning. They reported that it was the holding on at the darkest point that made the difference. “Once you’ve been to the bottome, one successful man said, you’re not afraid of risks again. You just hang tight and you know that up is the only way to go.”………………..Maybe we have to reach the place of despair before we can truly value the joy of having that dream fulfilled.”
    This chapter was called Delayed Results—from Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
    So, daughter, your dream has been with you since you were a little girl……persevere and it will come true……Mom

  2. ann says:

    so very true – all of it. thanks for taking the time to send it to me.

  3. ronaldanne1 says:

    i read this again thinkin’ yes i feel every word you have written. i have only submitted once, very recently, and it is so s&m to do this kind of thing to yourself… torturous is the word. but it is also exciting and i would not change that part for anything…well, maybe i would change it for a publishing contract, or to have even one thing published, ok at this point i would gladly take a rejection letter/email…something, anything to let me know someone somewhere actually read and considered my work even if just to say “sorry, not good enough.”

    i get the same squishy feeling in my guts even when i publish my blog.

    thanks for writing – keep doing it.
    ron

    • ann says:

      hahaha! boy-oh-boy…do struggling writers feel each others’ pain or what? man, the silence, right? i’ve figured out that, over the last 6 months or so, i’ve had about a 10% response rate and a 5% success rate for my submissions…it’s getting better, but it takes its sweet-ass time! onwards and upwards, my fellow word whittler…we’ll get there in the end.

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