Saturday, May 5, 2012

Feeling Exposed

I've been a creative person my entire life.

Before I came back to writing, I worked for many years as a craftsperson on the art fair circuit. I faced multiple rejections and setbacks, but I persevered. Though I never was accepted into an American Craft Council show, I did become a member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild. Two different steps on a similar ladder.

This week, my writing world has been one fraught with despair and hope. My agent, now former agent, decided to let go clients whose work had not yet sold. The tone of the e-mail was of the "something going on in my life" variety. It doesn't stop the hurt. We were midway through the submission process with a manuscript so dear to me, that I'm now left feeling directionless.

In a fit of tenacity and pluck, I sent out a couple of queries for the manuscript I signed with, but had never been shopped. I also entered in The Writer's Voice competition. Great, wonderful, admirable. Yes. I can see that.

But today, this is how I feel.

People are on-line looking at my words, judging, testing, sampling. And I feel naked and scared and vulnerable. It's stupid how having an agent gave me a boost of confidence - "Hey look Ma, I made it." - it should all be internal, right? But I'm human. And raw. And it hurts. It really, really hurts.

But here I am, stripping the Emperor once again, because we've all been in this spot. And of anyone who could possibly know how I'm feeling, it's my other writer friends. It shouldn't matter what other people think. We shouldn't care. But when you pour yourself on the page, you do care.

And we persevere. And one day, hopefully soon, I'll trust myself on the page again. Thanks for listening.

26 comments:

  1. Rejections, or anything that breaks the forward roll can be disconcerting.

    Do something that cheers you, today, and don't let the industry get you down.

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  2. I know exactly how you feel.

    I too have been creative in other ways for all of my life, but being new to writing is so complicated because I find I'm constantly hopeful and doubtful in the same moments.

    I think you're wonderful, and I'm so glad that I started following your blog during wipmadness. You've inspired me!!

    Good luck in the voice competition. :)

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  3. This is a brave post, Jaye. It's hard to feel vulnerable, but don't get discouraged. Querying again is tough, but it's the best thing to keep putting yourself out there. We're all rooting for you!

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  4. Wow. That's a lot to handle, Jaye, but you've done it with dignity and grace.

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  5. Oh no!!!! I'm sending you an email right now!!

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  6. Chin up, chest out, fists balled -- you'll make it. It's only a question of time, nothing more nothing less.

    And get writing on something new ASAP! Nothing will pep you up more than reminding yourself of the reason you put up with all that shit --- the love of writing, and the wonder of new stories. Hey, what's the name of your blog again?

    Now go spin your little gears.

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  7. OOOH I'm so upset for you. The only thing I can say, which I know that you'll probably try to discount, is that the confident, good feeling you had before when you had an agent should not change. Your work is the same, your talent, your ability, your grace and spirit. None of that has changed. What's changed is external - and it's no judgement in any way of what you've accomplished. I know it can have a grave effect on your confidence - I would feel the same, naked and hurting. But you'll get stronger, and continue to fight (like you've already done with the querying and competitions) and soon, I hope, you'll regain equilibrium. ((((HUGS)))

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  8. It feels like no matter what kind of validation we get, it's never enough. But you are good, and the bad things will give way to more affirmation.

    I'm sorry you feel exposed. HUGS

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  9. Jaye, I am so sorry. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I can't say I know exactly how you feel, but I can say that I've had some of those same hopes to be dashed--like having an agent say she loves your writing, ask for an R&R, then later say, "Sorry I can't take on any more clients, so I'll have to pass on looking at that revision."

    But keep moving forward. If your writing attracted one agent, it will surely attract another. Above all, write for yourself. Write because you love it. And keep on submitting with hope.

    You will find the right agent--who will sell your work--to the right editor--who will see it to print--for the right readers.

    May God bless the work of your hands.

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  10. Oh Jaye! You need hugs and chocolate!!
    That truly bites. And I totally feel that pain right now :(
    It is so sucky that at any stage, no matter how far you've made it, you can always be right back at step one in an instant. Boo.

    *However*
    It can go the other way just as fast! I'm at the point where one of my favorite mss is just not going to get that "yes", but having something new to query has me all energized and positive again. Get out there with those queries lady!

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  11. You are beautiful and brave.
    That is all.
    For now.

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  12. Thanks everybody. So often we're told we're not supposed to talk about these things - but I think it's important to share the hard times as well as the triumphs. So we know we're not alone.

    I'm not angry or bitter. It just is. I firmly believe my life unfolds in the exact order it's supposed to for what I need. My agent gave me an incredible surge of confidence. It's not gone forever. Whatever is supposed to happen for me on this journey will happen. I do believe that.

    But, I wouldn't mind a good shot of mojo juice and you beautiful people are providing it. So thank you.

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  13. That stinks big time - I'm sending good vibes your way. Good luck with querying and the competition.

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  14. I love craft shows, I had no idea they were competitive like that. Good luck to you finding an agent who loves your work.

    ~Amy

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    Replies
    1. Yep slides of your work, etc. Some more competitive than others.

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  15. Oh, Jaye, I'm so sorry. There are just so many hurdles, so many peaks and valleys in the journey.

    Hoping you find solace and joy in your writing, and good for you for getting back out there again so quickly!

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  16. So many wonderfully successful people have faced road blocks and disappointments along their journey. The Universe still has a plan for you.

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  17. I've heard of this happening over and over with agents. I guess it's the changing of the times. Have you considered submitting to a small press?

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    Replies
    1. Comments on that in the works, but short answer - Yes.

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  18. That sucks big time. I am so sorry you're going through this downswing, but remember you'll be propelled up again. Do you know who your agent submitted to, and, if not, can you get that list? It will help as you move forward. There are so many avenues, new highways open to writers now that you will find a home for your story.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, he was very professional in passing all information along to me.

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  19. You are talented and there is a plan out there for you...keep on plugging away. HUGS...so glad to have connected here online.

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