chapter 16 blog
Sometimes being a writer sucks. Sometimes it sucks a lot.
The writing part, I love. There are very few things in life that come close to making me as happy as time alone with a blank notebook and a pen. The thing about being a writer is that you really only get to write about 10% of the time that you spend working.
There's market research, self-promotion, networking, submissions, and then all of the stressful horrors that come with submissions. I suck at all that stuff. I can't design a site well, I can't promote myself or my work, I can't meet people, I suck at submitting things and I just am not fast enough.
I have spent the last two weeks working insanely hard trying to stay on top of all my October submissions and I woke up today feeling so good about it. In the last 7 days I've written 12,000 words just in rough drafts, polished up 2 new short stories and a flash fiction piece, and done so much research. So much. There's been planning and organizing and I thought today was going to be such a huge breakthrough day for me and one by one my projects fell through until I started to feel so hopelessly behind. I've been so productive all week and I still feel like I'm getting nowhere.
It's been okay that my zine is falling apart because I'm busy and our artist is busy and that's not just on me. I've been doing my best. It's been okay that my portfolio site isn't even up yet because even though I haven't finished that I have been submitting. It's been okay that I don't have a steady job and that I'm broke and that even this site right here is only a placeholder for the site I want to build myself and that everything is a mess because I've been putting in the effort. It's been okay that I still suck at social media things because hey, I'm getting the writing part done.... only that doesn't feel like enough anymore. It doesn't feel anywhere close to enough.
I spent 3 hours yesterday choosing where to send a short story that is back in my submission rotation after being rejected again. ( How great does it feel that the best thing I've written all year has already been rejected twice?) I made a nice list of my top choices, compared submission deadlines, made pros and cons list, just to find out that my top two choices closed for submissions early. My third choice is super competitive and I know I don't stand a chance, but I submitted it anyway because I promised myself I'd get this done today. Now it's out of my rotation again for 2-6 months and it will be rejected.
The rights for the only thing I've gotten published this year reverted back to me and I went to submit it to the only speculative fiction zine I know of that pays for horror reprints just to find out they're not taking new submissions until January due to an influx.
There are now two more markets that I want to submit to in October meaning that I've gone from having 2/7 completed to 2/9. I feel like at this point even if I get them all done by the deadlines it won't matter because they're probably going to close early - since that seems to be my pattern.
I spent so much time writing the rough draft for a specific submission and it's just absolutely terrible. I felt like the idea was solid but it came out terribly. Now I don't know if I want to scrap it or shelve it or try to salvage it before the submission date rolls around.
Best of all is the 2 hours I spent this morning writing and editing my newest flash fiction piece. It's terrible and despite my best attempts to cut it down it's still a good 60 words over a firm 1.5k limit.
It's just so exhausting. I knew this was going to be hard work when I committed to it, but I had no idea just how quickly I could get beaten down and buried under the workload. I had no idea that self improvement and dream-chasing would make me this tired.
Part of me really wants to quit. I could get a regular day job or go back to school, find some other exhausting profession that I'm not cut out for, let writing just be something I do for fun. It was so much more relaxing when it was something that I just did for myself. This wouldn't be the first time that I walked away from something I believed in.
But I'm not going to quit. Maybe that makes me an idiot, but I don't want to be a quitter anymore. I've never stuck with something this long and I don't want to quit just because it's difficult. I don't want to have to say "I used to be a writer."
So, here we are.
Tonight, instead of going to bed and getting sleep like a normal person, I'm going to open up that flash-fiction piece, edit out 60 words, submit it before they run out of slots and start on my next round of market research. In around all of that, I also want to find the time to work on my sites.
This was a long rant, but I do feel better. I'm also not overly concerned about anyone reading these anyway, so that's good. Those of you who are reading, I'd apologize, but you're probably used to the ranting by now.