Writing life: Snotty-sobs and disappointment

Confession time: Sometimes when it comes to writing, I don’t really know what I’m doing.

The business of being an author is way harder than I thought it would be. Intellectually, I knew it was hard. Emotionally, I feel like I’m taking two steps forward, one step back. Or maybe three forward and one back. Either way, it’s not all roses. It’s moments if inspiration and creative energy that are wiped out (if I let it) with self-doubt. And impatience.

But I know what I want.

I want:

  • to get my novel published;
  • to write another novel … and another;
  • to find an agent, if possible;
  • to share my stories – my characters’ stories;
  • readers to connect emotionally with my characters and stories;
  • to join my author friends with a novel to my name;
  • to manage self-doubt so it doesn’t cripple me;
  • to believe with all my heart that I am good enough;
  • to live my writing dream, knowing that I have it in me to do so.

I want this so much. So much that it pains me, it squeezes my soul, tugs sharply at my heartstrings, and coaxes rivers of tears when obstacles seem insurmountable.

Recently, I experienced great disappointment when an agent passed on my novel. From her email, she’d given it a lot of thought. She said:

‘I really love your writing and I think that you’ve painted your characters with depth and heart.’

But ultimately, she felt that my ‘quiet tale of grief and healing’ might not have enough drama for publishers. And so she passed.

And I was crushed. I received the email at work and had to hold my tears in the whole day because the place was heaving with people attending dance comps. What I wanted to do was burst into loud, snotty sobs. Which is precisely what I did when I got home.

In between snotty-sobs, I shared the news with my accountability group (love these women):

I’m embarrassed and frustrated and confused and crying all at once. Yeah, I’ll suck it up and get over it. But right now, I don’t feel like it. I feel like saying, F**k it. I wanted to share how I felt with you guys. And thank you in advance for your friendship. Now I’m off to cry in the shower before finding my toughen-up pants.

They sent me virtual hugs and messages of support and, between that and the hugs from my beloved, I left the pity party early.

And then, that same night, I found myself joining in with Joanne Fedler’s The Author Awakening Adventure. Honestly, I thought it would relate more to people just starting out on their writing journey. But once I started reading the catch-up transcripts and Joanne’s ‘unique framework for turning writers and wanna-be authors into authors’, I realised I could benefit in a myriad of ways.

Joanne takes a different approach in mentoring/awakening writers, by focusing on consciousness as much as craft. As it turns out, the consciousness part is proving inspirational as much as thought-provoking. Why? Because it means that I have to look at myself and the obstacles I put in my own way. Like my old frenemy, self-doubt. And Miss Not-Good-Enough.

I get the sense I’m being told to slow down and build myself up so I can ignore the voices that say, ‘Do you really think you can do this?’ and ‘You’re not good enough’. While I usually get on top of this negative talk pretty quickly, it bothers me that it keeps coming up. Am I still feeling disappointed? Hell, yes! But that is okay. I am allowed to feel that because I love my characters and their story of healing and learning to live again.

I have to hurdle over those speed-bump phrases so I don’t get bogged down, to manage them so they don’t erupt into creativity stifling obstacles.

In the meantime, while I’m working on my author-consciousness, I’m going to let Wherever You Go simmer a while and reconnect with another project that begs to be heard. It’s started. I just had it in my head that Wherever You Go would get an offer of publication this year (hey, just working the Law of Attraction concept) and then I’d write a sequel …

But here’s the funny thing: on Sunday I had time to write. And then indecision kicked in. Which of my three great ideas would I work on? I opted for the sequel … but really struggled. I wonder if my intuition knew it wasn’t time for that yet.

Either way, I’m going to spend some time working on me, and allowing my next novel to take root in my consciousness. I’m going to write what I need to write to equip myself for more hard work. But I won’t be giving up.

I guess I do know what I’m doing after all.

I’m living a writer’s life, with all the good, bad, and ugly (crying).

PS. Here’s another great article about dealing with disappointment from author Sue Whiting. Thanks to Louise Allan for sharing that.



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

8 Responses

  1. Sending love, moral support and spare box of tissues. It’s ok to loosen the button on those toughen up pants every now and then. 🙂 If it’s any consolation that is JUST the kind of book I’d like to read. xxx

  2. Great post! Glad that I was not alone in my disappointment. Thanks for linking to my post. Power to your keyboard, Monique. I love your writing goals – especially “to live my writing dream”. Amen to that!

    1. Thanks, Sue – I shared my post because I wanted others to know they were not alone, so had to smile when I read yours.

  3. Ah Monique how honest and open and heartfelt this is – and how relate able. You got a ‘good ‘rejection- one that actually encouraged you- but it doesn’t lessen the pain. The self doubt, the second guessing will continue but you are lucky to have a group that understands and a supportive partner. Its par for the course but that doesn’t make it any easier. Intellectually we all know this, but emotionally -it just hurts. Your love of words and your blog posts convince me that you will get a book published.
    I would have loved to have taken the Joanne Fedler course – it looked really beneficial, but it was way out of my price league.

    1. Thank you, Sonia. There is such a difference between what we intellectually KNOW and what we emotionally FEEL. Your support means a lot.

  4. Monique. The disappointment is shattering, I understand this having been there myself. Oh gosh, yes, I remember it in every fine little nerve-numbing detail. There is nothing quite like having an email like that. BUT, here’s the thing. It was a POSITIVE rejection. And you can make these work for you. I know this because I’ve been there too. If you want to chat about it, message me. In the meantime, chin up. Slog on. You WILL prevail, because you really want this – and that’s the secret ingredient. xo

    1. Thank you, Margareta, for sharing this. I know I am not the only one – but it is good to get that hurt out so you can move on. Yes, I do want to prevail and I WILL.

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