Don’t Believe the Billboard

I went out with friends rather recently for my birthday. I had promised myself that I would be done with the current draft of Granny Rose and the Orb and I was not. I’m still not. Work had been leaving me rather tired and braindead and not really up to the task of writing. I could go on and on about the little things that were blocking me, but I couldn’t really ignore the biggest reason, which isn’t an excuse, but more of a fractural moment (yes as in broken). I had begun to believe that no one would like it. I had sent out a 50 page sample to some test readers and asked them to read it over and tell me what they think. Read this as a reader, don’t worry about the common editing notes, just tell me what you think of the story. I know what I was expecting, I just didn’t know how to manage my expectations.

Only a few and my mother replied. My mother will always reply and it will always be “I loved it.” She’s me mom, that’s half the job description. Mom glasses. What I got from others was a little less than enthusiastic. I wanted to toss my hands on my hips and remind them that they are reading the second draft. I got editorial notes. The biggest question “Did you enjoy the story?” seemed to be lost. I decided to chalk it up to my learning mistake, never let anyone read the work until complete. However, I do say I enjoy feed back as I progress. I like to know what works and what doesn’t work while working on something live because it’s easier to make adjustments when you’re working on clay while wet versus when it comes out of the oven and it hard. I’m not writing by committee, but I miss things that others might not.

I use to make jewelry and then I also made funky bohemian clothing. Then I moved on to cooking. So there is a lot of crap out there on the internet with me trying to find my teeth when someone said to me “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work.” I was trying to monetize and assign market value to what I did for fun and making it less fun. Making it a harder struggle than it needed to be. Not to mention a monumental waste of time and money making things to sell, setting up websites, webstores, Etsy shops, craft fairs, ect. One day I woke up and saw all the insanity involved. I believed the billboard: Do what you love and you’ll make money.

I didn’t have a following in anything. There was nothing so special and so completely unique that I was a standout, just easily ignored. After I was told that I need to more closely pursue that which is trending and become more marketable. All my life I was treated differently by people and ignored being too weird and in the midst of me telling myself I was fine the way I am and learning to love me for me and accept myself, I get told by someone on the creative front that I need to be a little more like everyone else because there was nothing special about what I do and I just need to think of ways to keep up with the consumer. I needed to be a cog.

Fuck. That. Shit.

When I made the decision to go back and start writing again because I can be as weird and as strange as I want, it felt good for a time. Then as I went on, I wanted to improve what I was writing and getting better for the sake of creating something better. I took some courses. I read more. I did homework. I talked to other students. I bought and read basic books to improve what I was doing and I believed that it was honestly improving. The stories were getting better. I got brave and I asked for feedback and only realized when I got it was that maybe I’m not on the right path.

Not on the right path. I am well in the center of my 40’s and I still can ‘t get my shit together and do myself. I’m trying. I just want to write and give that gift of me to the world. But if it’s bad, it’s not a gift.

So…. why am I blogging all this? Am I striving for the sympathy vote? If you are even tempted to say yes, get stuffed and lose my IP. I decided that writing is a very real process and I can not be the only person who feels these things. I also might possibly not be quite 100% sober. But I know that many people talk about it other than to occasionally say “Oh, yes. I’ve felt that way before.” Then they go on to offer words of advice and gentle encouragements. But, why not just let you come along on the ride and you can either watch the defeat or the rise? Then you would know for certain you are not alone in the struggles. I can’t be alone in the way I feel right now. You shouldn’t be either.

So, if you are feeling brave and want to watch me claw my way out of this new hole, you’re welcome to. I would prefer you cheer, but if you want to wait till I get to the top, I understand that too.


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