There’s nothing like hitting send on a submission email, or mailing a thick envelope with the dreaded SASE, to launch my stomach into paroxysms of angst. I hate rejection, even if it’s couched in positive language. I know other writers who have gotten nothing back or just bare-boned form letters, whereas I have gotten personal letters (in addition to the rubber stamp.) These typically include words of praise followed by a reason why the agent/editor/publication is not currently interested in a particular piece. I am often invited to resubmit with something else that fits x,y, or z theme. That’s all fine and good, but it’s still rejection. I’m just recently warming up to the notion of writing to someone else’s theme by culling the various markets for upcoming anthologies and the like.
A friend recently gave a sermon (yeah, you read it right, s-e-r-m-o-n) where he talked about how to get what you want and how he, as a lawyer, goes about doing this and how we mere mortals can go about learning from lawyers. One of the ‘take-aways’ from that talk was about being tenacious. Every once in a while, I engage in a bit of hubrus and look up famous authors who have been rejected. It makes me feel good to see well-recognized and iconic figures who stuck to their guns and continued to submit their work even after dozens of rejections. King, Grisham, Nabokov, Rowling, Herbert, Cummings, Proust, are just some that crop up on a quick search. Do I seriously think I’m in the same ranks of those listed? Well, no. I did say it was hubrus, didn’t I? But, I don’t have to be King or Grisham to get published.
I just need to be tenacious. And maybe a bit bodacious, to.
There’s little more that can send my stomach into paroxysms of angst than hitting send on a submission email, or the occasional thick envelope with the dreaded SASE. I hate rejection, even if it’s couched in positive language. I know other writers who have gotten nothing back or just bare-boned form letters, whereas I have gotten personal letters (in addition to the rubber stamp.) These typically include words of praise followed by a reason why the agent/editor/publication is not currently interested in a particular piece. I am often invited to resubmit with something else that fits x,y, or z theme. That’s all fine and good, but it’s still rejection. I’m just recently warming up to the notion of writing to someone else’s theme by culling the various markets for upcoming anthologies and the like.
Additionally, using a pseudonym has it’s downside. I chose to use one because my daughter freaked at the notion that I was writing erotica and that her name could possibly be linked to “that sort of thing.” She fully intends to be a writer and doesn’t want to sully the family name with erotica. There’s that, and the fact that I sometimes write about kinks that are off the “vanilla” scale. Many of the things I write about, I’ve never actually experienced. (See my rational for using the imagination http://ceciliaduvalle.com/story/2010/sep/write-what-you-know)
Writing takes on several forms for me. I blog here and, more regularly even, under my ‘real’ name. I’m pitching a non-fiction book to an agent at a conference in eleven days, working on several novels with haphazard planning and no real direction, writing several short stories for the erotic market, and I’m writing posts to various roleplays over at Elliquiy. I have other projects I work on, and I find that I’m writing every day for some reason or another. Email and Facebook updates don’t count, but I need to get some words out on a daily basis or my head gets uncomfortably full. It doens’t usually matter what I am writing to satisfy that base need of mine. As long as I’m writing something, anything, I feel better by the end of the day. It’s something like being so hungry you’ll just eat what is in front of you no matter what it tastes like.
Recently, I’ve taken to just writing what comes to mind when I sit down. The hit and miss approach to writing is not always productive, and can be actively counter-productive. Rather than forcing myself to open a particular document in progress and work at finishing something, I’ll open with whatever has struck my fancy that moment–usually a story idea that gets expressed as a rough outline in about a thousand words or less. By then, my free time is up and I have real-life Mom related chores to attend to. Being a mother with kids out of school for the summer has decidedly reduced the amount of time or energy I have available for writing, or almost anything else. I suppose I could send them to the basement and feed them a steady diet of Playstation and X-box, but that’s really counter to how I want to raise them. Sure, when they are at school, I’ll put a solid six hours straight into screen-time, but that’s what I call “my job.” Even if I’m not being paid very much for it, yet.
Worse, being in the mood for writing erotica coincides with me being alone. It really shouldn’t matter all that much, but I am finding that when my kids are around–even if they are way far away in the basement or outside, I’m simply not really that excited to write erotica. It has a little to do with the fact that my computer faces the hallway and anyone walking up behind me can get a good look at my screen. It could have to do with the fact that writing erotica does require that I’m sort of in the mood for it. I’m not suggesting that I have one hand in my pants while typing one-handed…well, at least not ALL the time, but there’s something to the writing of erotica that is a private act for me. Having the eight year old thumping around near me, even if he can’t see my words, certainly affects them.
Writing of any kind involves placing my mind in a certain place, filtering out the various sounds and things around me and mentally entering the space of the world I’m trying to create and the heads of the characters to which I am bringing to life. When I am writing well, I’ve entered a particularly calm and clear space where I can see, hear, taste and smell the very things I’m describing in prose. And, like gearing up for sex, it sometimes takes a little foreplay to get me really in the mood for it. Without that extra time, I’ve tried to jump straight into the writing to use the precious time I have and have found both the product and the process less than satisfying. I’m looking forward to a few playdates and a week of summer day-camp in August where I’ll have my house, and my head, all to myself.