I am against tattoos. No, not for you. Go on and ink your little hearts out, Writer Friends. I’m against them for me, and not just because I’m fickle about art in general. No, it’s the whole “optional pain” aspect that turns me off.
I mean, life is full of pain, right? And pain, for me, has always been a bit more… remarkable, I guess you could say, than for many others.When Dave and I were dating, he did not appreciate this fact. I vividly* remember cutting my hand with a paring knife so deeply that Actual Blood Came Out Of The Cut. It wasn’t a stitches situation or anything (Oh, Lordy, I NEVER go for stitches – see Optional Pain above), but it was an adequate amount of blood to panic over, for me. Clueless, young, unmarried Dave didn’t see it that way. He was all, “meh,” about the whole thing, until I Set Him Straight about what pain means to a deep, emotional, overly dramatic soul like mine. (We’ve been married for many years, Friends, so don’t worry. When I accidentally cut myself these days, he cries even harder than I do. And sometimes brings home flowers. Good husband.)
Anyway, life is full of pain, and my goal is to keep my daily quota of pain as low as possible. And yet, Writer Friends, and yet.
I still, every day, write pages and pages of novels that may not ever be published, poems and short stories and essays, too — and then, just when I’m feeling quite good about myself, life, and the universe in general, I send them out. Like tiny, helpless ducklings into the crocodile-infested river of the Publishing World.
And when those rejections come in – and they do, I promise, even if I don’t post about all of them here (and no, I haven’t had any this week, thank you for asking) — it hurts. Like a punch in the gut. Like sciatica. Not as much as labor (except for that one R from Scholastic over a year ago – Lordy, if they made a home epidural kit I would’ve hooked myself up THAT week fersure), but just as horrible in its own way.
Then, when I catch my breath, I straighten up, mentally bark out “Thank you, Sir, May I have another?” and hit send on another submission. After which I cry, eat much, much chocolate, and tap out another thousand words on the Next Novel in Line.
Why? Because I’ve figured one thing out: this pain isn’t really optional, for me. As far as I can tell, it’s the only way I can get to where I want to go.
What about you, Writer Friends? Are you submitting, are you writing, are you finishing those novels/stories/picture books/essays, and polishing them just enough to send them out into the world? Or are you stalling, waiting, hesitating because you know that the inevitable blow is coming?
And if you are hesitating, let me ask a personal question: Do you have a tattoo? Because that’s way more scary to me.
Write well, Friends, finish your Works, and send them out into the world.
* all memories which involve my blood coming out of my body are vivid for me. Seriously, you’re talking to a woman who still doesn’t believe she might not bleed to death every month. I mean, it’s my blood! Coming out! Without stopping! Brrrrr.