Monday, January 25, 2010

Being Obstinate

The Great Wall of Slush

Have you ever felt like the odds are against you? Then you find out they really are? Last week, I read that agent Jennifer Jackson signed five out of 8004 queries in her slush. That’s 0.06%. Of those five, two were debut authors. Janet Reid signed fewer.

I knew the statistics before I read the post. Industry experts estimate there are four million unpublished manuscripts out there, and all those authors want their babies to find a home. Usually those numbers make me work harder. Last week, however, I had a case of the I’m-ruining-my-life-with-this-writing-crap blues.

During the I’m-ruining-my-life-with-this-writing-crap blues, I obsess over what I could have been doing instead of writing. I could have called my siblings. I could have heard my baby sister plead with me to ease up on her boyfriend. (Never!) I could have actually learned tennis scoring from my brother. (Unlikely, but possible.)

Or I could have faced the legion of dust bunnies hiding in the laundry room. I could have played Mario Kart and finally kicked my husband’s fine fanny.

Those things are important to me, but so is writing. And, apparently, it is important to my husband. Last Thursday, he rescued my jump drive when I threatened to throw it into the garbage disposal. He talked soothingly as I huddled on the couch certain I’d ruined my life. It was tough love when he said this fear and doubt is a form of self-sabotage.

So I slunk to the computer the next morning and started to write. I remembered that most days the odds don’t bother me because the writing is enough. I don’t need to have my worth as a human being validated by publication.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Just a day later, the World of Blog affirmed I am not the only lunatic—I mean, bipolar artist--I mean... Nathan Bransford calls this feeling the “Am I Crazies?” Anne Allen’s response made me proud to be part of the team of crazies slaving away for the Tralfamadorians.

So what is the point? I’m choosing to be obstinate. I am a fairly level headed, well educated woman who’s deciding, with the support and prodding of her husband, to pursue a dream that by all definitions is out of reach. I'm sticking with it during the I’m-ruining-my-life-with-this-writing-crap blues.

What do you want? Are you cowering on your sofa watching whatever inanity prime time television offered up, hoping that the desire will go away? Or are you spitting in the eye of statistics, giving a wedgie to reason, and biting your thumb at doubt? Are you following the Dori philosophy? Are you willing to make magic in a world where it is as rare as glass slippers and condominium-sized peaches?


  1. That Brother mine ain't the only one cheering you on deary! ;P And if you're going to hit a brick least hope it's made out of legos! ;)

  2. You rock, Lucy! And you are right. Thank you for fourteen years of cheerleading and butt-kicking.