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Friday, March 26, 2010

The business of trying to get your writing published is so different from writing itself. The writing part is natural, like an extension of myself or an appendage. It's a necessary thing--like breathing. To have an idea bubbling inside of me and not write it down is like trying to hold your breath too long. It's impossible and painful. The business of trying to get published is anything but natural. It requires writing query letters to literary agents, putting your work out there for perfect strangers to judge, and receiving impersonal, form rejections while hoping for a simple "can we see more?" The art that you've poured your heart and soul into for months, and sometimes years, can be tersely dismissed. No one chooses to be a writer. You either are or you aren't. I'm not implying that all writers are good writers. What I mean is that it is an involuntary thing. A way you see the world. Much like photographers and painters and sculptors. You see details and analyze and find beauty in the tiniest and often most mundane things (often that no one else cares about). I'm not implying this is a good thing, necessarily. I often find myself bogged down or overwhelmed with all that is around me. The point is simply that capturing that in words is a release. A relief. Breathing out.
Trying to get published is like giving birth. Long, arduous, and painful. But you know the end product is worth it. The problem is that there is no epidural for dealing with the agent/publisher submission process. But without it, your words simply sit in your computer where no one ever sees them. So today I sent out 17 queries in the hopes that someone thinks my novel is worth a second chance. Seventeen is my favorite number, so.... But I know that it'll be 17 x 20 before a nibble. If only I could hold my breath forever.