Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thinking on Thursday- On Wanting and Writing

I remember the taste of want lingering on my tongue and burning holes in my belly when I was unpublished as an author. After I wrote my first book, I joined a tiny little group called RWA, and heard about all the published members and was filled with a little bit of awe and a lot of envy.  I even got to meet real live published authors. Some that lived in the same city as I do. A Canadian city at that! I remember thinking that they belonged to a wonderful yet elusive secret club that I wanted to join so badly. But worried deep down I never, ever would. But the want kept me going. Writing. Learning. Persisting when I wanted to quit.  Patience has never been one of my virtues, but I had to learn it. Practice it. Tolerate it. Eat it.

Years later when I finally joined the ranks of the published there were some pretty amazing moments.  The call from my agent telling me I had an offer on my book. There may have been dancing. There may have been singing. My son may have looked at me with twinkling eyes and said, "Mommy, I've never seen you look this happy."   I felt so lucky and happy and then funny enough, life went on. I was still the same old me. Older actually. And yet the wanting did not stop.

Of course there was also much to learn about the publishing business. There was unexpected heart ache. Sometimes there were tears. There was the realization that nothing really had changed, despite the fact that everything had. And yet there were also more great moments. Receiving my ARCS. Getting good reviews. But I learned no book can please everyone. And sometimes that hurts. And of course, I learned that there will always, always be others with  more. Bigger houses. Better sales. More promotions. Amazing advances. And so the wanting continued. I broke up with an agent. And wanted a new one. When I got a new agent, I wanted a new book deal. And so. The want kept me going.

When I started writing this blog I wanted to write about how much I do remember being unpublished and how I thought that being published would change everything. And discovering that it changed many things, but it didn't change me. I don't feel like anyone is in awe of me. I don't WANT them to be in awe of me. I want them to know, I am just like them.

Sometimes I wonder if it is the want that keeps me going. Perhaps it would be better described as persistence. Drive. A stubborn refusal to give up.  Combined with a crazy uncontrollable need. To keep writing. To keep wanting.  To publish a new book. A better book. A bigger book. Books that I can be truly proud of. 

I don't necessarily want huge fame. I certainly didn't start writing to make a fortune. But I guess what I want is what I've always wanted from everything in life. I want to be proud, and oh no, here's a  JG truism. I want people to like me. It's my darn inferiority complex. I want people to tell me I've done a good job. And I've had to learn that when you publish a book, you have to accept criticism gracefully. And not take it personally.

I want to get keep getting better. Most of all, when I write. I want to tell the truth. I want the books I write to matter to someone.


  1. Wow! good post! I have felt many of the same feelings pre and post publication. It's a big pond and I too strive to find a place in it, I also strive to keep getting better and keep writing. Talk about wanting - I want that truck to arrive with my book today - I've been here waiting for it all day!

  2. If I didn't know better, I'd say I wrote this blog post. I think we're traveling parallel paths, Janet. May I copy this and put on my blog? :-)

  3. Right there with you, sister. :-) You've perfectly encapsulated the writer's emo coaster. For what it's worth, I know your books matter.