Today is less about taking stock as an author than it is about taking stock of the rest of my life as a whole. I learned early on that the New Year “resolution” doesn’t work for me. I know me. No matter the subject, it’ll be too vague, too boring, too inflexible, or too all-encompassing and hard to stick to. Instead I make plans. Plans have parts like individual bricks and you can take them on one at a time and pave a whole path for yourself. I’ve plans to make for 2014 — some are adventures that have exhilarating potential, some create solid foundations for the future, and others are downright scary but necessary.
Because the new computer is here I wasn’t going to do a grand post today. But after checking emails I read how a friend came up with a rather unique and inspired way to use Pinterest. Intrigued, I went there this morning to see if there was anything like her idea on the site. Of course I immediately forgot what I was looking for among the bevy of info there. That site is full of shiny things that can hook the attention of a magpie like me. Less than a minute in, I’d pinned a few things to my own boards. It was all I could do to escape! However, I did find something interesting and saw a great potential in it — potential that has to do with perspective. It’s one more brick and I plan to start January 1st.
Before I explain what that something is, I’ll add that an author’s life can be a lonely life sometimes. Believe it or not, it can be perilous. On occasion it delivers a square kick to one’s psyche in the form of savage reviews or rejections.
Lonely: I spend most of my day, 5-days a week, inside my fictional worlds and outside supporting and promoting them. I can relate my experiences and progress to friends and family but they’re not in the trenches with me. Comprehension can only be so much. They try to understand and they support and love me and I’m so grateful because that love and support comes completely from their hearts. I know they genuinely want me to find success. I love that they try. That said, it’s still a lonely life. I’m involved in a day-to-day world that only others like me truly comprehend. Successes are few and far between and mostly consist of a good review, a good turnout for an appearance somewhere, or if you’re lucky, an award and good royalties. Mostly days stretch into weeks and we wait and write and try like hell not to fall into the pit of inconsequence.
Perilous: Authors are driven to do what they do and even from this end of things I have no idea why! I do know this: All authors are artists and all art is emotion. These creations come from deep inside our souls and when we offer them to the world, it leaves us naked and vulnerable. It’s a rough world out there where critics abound and slings and arrows wait around every corner. It’s not enough anymore to simply not enjoy a book. The author who wrote it must bleed for your dissatisfaction. I have author friends who regularly bleed from attacks. It’s terrible and soul-crushing.
Rejection: Many years ago I had a weird and unsettling experience after submitting illustrated children’s books to several New York publishers. Some places never responded. Other places sent a form letter saying they weren’t interested. Three sent me actual letters and that’s what was unsettling. I’d written those books for my kids. And just like A. A. Milne did for Winnie the Pooh, I illustrated them too.
← Here are my three frogs.
Unlike most, one rejection wasn’t a form letter. It was nicely put, but still a rejection. The other two publishers said they loved either the story or the artwork. The letters went something like this: “We are interested in your story but would use our own illustrators.” and “We are interested in your illustrations but have another author in mind.” It was heart-breaking. Call me picky, but I didn’t want another illustrator or writer. Those books were works of love created for my kids involving the toys I’d sewn for them myself. Those frogs went everywhere our family went. Our adventures were theirs. Another writer or illustrator wouldn’t understand. Like I said, all art is emotion. Those works of art were a mother’s expression of love for her children. Needless to say, I shelved the seven-book series. I plan to self-publish soon. It’s only been 25 years. :D
Perspective 1,2,3: What I’m getting at with all this, is perspective. Life is one huge Monet painting, author’s life included. When you’re too close it just looks like dabs of paint. Stand back and you take in the entire masterpiece.
1. Rejection of the work is not rejection of the person. I didn’t see the compliment in those two letters. I saw something negative. All these years later, I can see where I might have offered my illustration services and maybe even gotten a foot in the door. Clouded by emotion and my immaturity, I completely missed opportunity.
2. As for peril, we need to stop measuring our value as authors by the comments of others. Not every book we write is going to fit every reader. Unless they have real value for pointing out areas in our writing to assess, we need to stop taking negative reviews to heart. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. We simply cannot please every reader. We never will. We can only tell the best story we can tell. And that’s the truth.
3. And lonely…I’ve come to the conclusion that it just is. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find dozens of good things that tie my two worlds together each week. I’m making a point to do just that this year. That’s the plan…or I should say, that’s the brick.
So here’s what I discovered on Pinterest today. As soon as I saw them, I imagined the jar in the center of my table.
It was the “synchronicity” that caught my eye. That I’m even blogging about being an author is due to a synchronistic series of events that put me here. I no longer discount things I encounter that make me pause. Now I reflect. Every time something good or noteworthy happens from small to large, taking note of it will help put it all in perspective. Will I see a larger picture of my life at year’s end? Stepping back to reflect, I’m sure I will.
Love Waits in Unexpected Places - Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!
If you’re here for the first time, my husband and I are assembling a vintage holiday postcard scrapbook one card at a time. I’ve been posting one or two post cards each day and plan to keep it up from now until January.
New Years cards from here on out. This is one of my favorites so far. :)
Author Suzanne Rock’s blog day.
Meet the RB4U authors!
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blog.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six ~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of the Story ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking 2014 now.