Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I can think of 100 other things to do

Yeasterday I applied for a position at the New Orleans public library. They're supposed to get back to me in a few weeks. I've applied a few other places too. While I've been waiting for these things to pan out, though, there's been a thought floating around in the back of my head, and I've been ignoring it for the last few weeks because I've heard this thought before.

"Um...I'm sorry, but why aren't you sending essays and stories out on a regular basis?"

Like I said, that question pops in up in my mind all the time, and I've resolved to send off on a regular basis a few times over the last few years but I never kept up with it. However, yesterday that question popped in my mind and it was followed by a statement that was hard to ignore:

"You have over seventy of them, Genny. I think that, uh, this writing thing? It might be a chronic condition. I don't think you're going to give it up any time soon. And people seem to like the stuff. You wanna, like, do something about that?"

And for those of you who are wondering, yes, when I address myself in my mind I revert to my childhood nickname. And I sound like a snotty high school girl. Here is the conversation that insued between the wise me and the worried me.

worry: But I've tried full-time writing from home before and I never stick with sending stuff out on a regular basis. I get depressed with the rejections.

wiser: Everybody who writes full-time gets rejections. The ones who are successful aren't better writers than you they just persevere. You know, you say this to everybody else. You should take your own advice.

worry: But I'm too disorganized.

wiser: So was Viriginia Woolf.

worry: But she drowned herself.

wiser: You're not a scizophrenic British realist. You're a depressive American essayist and young adult novelist. There's a difference.

worry: Name one.

wiser (thinking):...Her accent was cooler than yours.

worry: That doesn't help. Look, I can't work from the house. There are too many distractions. There are a hundred other things to do.

wiser: And you do all of those things with the constant stress of "I should be writing." After you write you do those other things better. Writing for you is like eating breakfast. It's a healthy way to start the day. Like Frosted Flakes.

worry: But I want to make a steady salary like other grownups.

wiser: You will make a steady salary.

worry: How do you know that?

wiser: Because this is what you want.

Holy shit, she's right.


melissa bastian. said...

We'll debate the nutritional value of frosted flakes another time. As for sending out writing and putting yourself on the line - yes, all writers face rejection, and it does kind of suck.

But consider this: what happens if you don't send anything out? You don't get published. What happens if you do sent things out? You don't get published... or you do! Look at that! A whole new outcome that was impossible before!

Plus, the thing to remember about rejection is that they're not rejecting you or your work; they're simply saying this piece isn't right for this publishing house / publication at this time. That doesn't mean that another publishing venue won't think that the exact same piece fits the bill just perfectly.

This is my long-winded way of saying that, while I feel worried's pain, LISTEN TO WISER! Cuz dude, she's like, wiser and stuff.

p.s. - "grown up" jobs are SERIOUSLY overrated. If we could pay the rent without my having one you can bet your ass that I'd quit tomorrow.

p.p.s. - My word verification spells "premo". And I think you know what that means.

Tom said...

I'm with Melissa: the chances of being published AT ALL are way huger if you send stuff out. Most publishers don't accept work they don't know exists...I think.

I really can't add much more, because Melissa said such great stuff. I feel envy for the greatness.

You're entertaining as hell when you have conversations with you. When I talk to me it's always "we," as in "Don't you think we should send some stuff out this month/year/whenev?" I always feel like I'm leading troops to battle or something.

My word verification spells "remican," and I think we all know what THAT means: little cups for dipping sauces. Mmmm...sauces.

Genevieve said...

I think you wonderfully sweet, sarcastic bastards are right. They're much less likely to consider my work if I don't send it. :)

Premo remicans? Do you think the internet is trying to tell us to snack on something dippable? Mmmm...dipping foods...