I was in an English class once and someone quoted an author who said something to the effect of: writing is a painful ordeal that one only undertakes if driven by demons. And I just thought… Honey, you’re doing it wrong.
I love writing. When I go for too long without writing, I get grumpy and miserable. Life starts to feel harder; I go through vague, melancholic depression. There are times when I really think writing is the point of it all, and I wonder how people who don’t have a creative release handle those insidious, creeping, maudlin thoughts. Maybe people who don’t write don’t have them, I don’t know! All I know is, writing is a playground. An adventure. A joy.
Then, on the other hand, there are submissions…
Submissions suck. They’re exhausting, if you’re doing it right they’re nearly constant, and every single time your boundless optimism and enthusiasm (which you must have, or how would you muster the energy to continue to submit?) is balanced against your utter certainty that the process is pointless and rigged against you and there is no point to anything and you will die upublished. (Even after you’ve been published, you continue to have that thought, since you’re sort of used to it and it feels familiar. Then you remind yourself it’s already too late for that and think HA!)
So how do you continue to feed the flames of optimism and enthusiasm when you’re tired and you just want to give up? My answer is, write more. Write the thing you love so much that you think everyone else will HAVE to love it too. Put all of your energy into that, and send it out into the world. And if that energy doesn’t get you anywhere, if you hit a wall, if you start to doubt your love? Take a break. Go back to an old project. Dust it off and fall in love with it again, so much that you think everyone else will HAVE to love it too. Put all of your energy into it, and send it out into the world.
Learn to love the submission process by learning to love your work. Then it isn’t so much of a struggle to polish something, to send it out into the world. Because at the end of it all, there’s always another project to love. And that?
Is pretty incredible.