Have you had days where you get on your own nerves?
I’ve had three consecutive days of that. If only I could get away from me.
It all started when I decided to participate in a Pitch Wars contest, which also required me to join Twitter. I thought it would be a good idea to follow the authors I chose as potential mentors. And it was. For the most part. They all tweeted witty, entertaining, and educational things that improved my day.
That was until they “tweeted their inbox”, as they would say. Here’s how that works: they go through their queries, giving just enough information that you might think they’re talking about yours, and say what they love or don’t love about it. Either they love the one you think could be yours so you wait in vain for an email requesting a full manuscript, or you wallow in misery when they pass on the one you think is yours because of a weak query or whatever. The maddening part about all this is there’s no way to know if the one they’re talking about is yours.
So I’ve been watching Twitter like a hawk with growing frustration at myself as time goes on. “Gee, my query didn’t have very strong stakes! I’d better correct that!” “Maybe my opening is slow! Better look at that!”
It occurred to me tonight why this has all been so irritating. And it has nothing to do with my success or failure in this contest.
This isn’t why I started writing.
When I started writing, I never planned to enter contests.
I never thought I’d be in a critique group.
I never thought people would ask me to look at their work.
I never thought I’d try to impress agents or mentor authors.
And I certainly never thought a publisher would be willing to shell out their own money to print something that I wrote.
I started writing because I had a story to tell.
After receiving many rejections but before my publisher accepted my manuscript for my first book, I was thinking about giving the book to anyone who asked. I just wanted people to read my story, and from early feedback it was a good story. One worth reading. I didn’t care about money (I still don’t, really, but for my publisher’s sake I do. I promise. Wink wink).
That’s it. I’m the modern-day version of the cave painter. And I doubt they painted to impress anyone.
So it’s time for me to get back on track. The good news is, that first story isn’t my last. I’ve written four others since then, and I have two more that I’m mulling around in my brain. I think I’ll put everything else aside for a few days and just “produce wordbabies”, as Chuck Wendig would say.
After all, that’s why I started.
How about you? Do you remember why you started doing what you love?