Down the Rabbit Hole

The first order of business today, in clarification of my last post, is to make it clear that no catastrophe has befallen me. I apologize for causing you concern. I sincerely appreciate your kindness, and I’m sorry I caused a ruckus. I wrote that post on the anniversary of my father’s death and it was meant only as a reflection on letting go and moving on. That does, however, relate to today’s post.

I seem to be blogging a lot of confessions lately, and here’s another. An accumulation of Real Life stresses finally wiped me out. Since this blog focuses on my writer’s journey, I’ll share how my lowered defenses affected that.

Despite knowing that quitting only assures you never succeed, I came perilously close to doing that very thing this month. After all the cheerleading (preaching?) I’ve done on this blog—and probably yours—I hang my head in shame. Here’s the tale … once removed.

◊ ◊ ◊

You let the querying process clobber you. Your inner critic grows crueler by the day. You dog-paddle furiously just to keep your head above water. Your heart and your head are in constant battle. Tears are shed. Fists are clenched. (Egads! Passive construction.) And, yes, you hide behind humor.

The result? You make the decision to abandon your dream of publication, and then you question whether you should write at all.

More tears. More anger. Debilitating embarrassment.

You come this close to closing down your blog and deleting your Twitter account. How dare you call yourself a writer! You know good writing. You recognize those writers who deserve publication. You are clearly not one of them.

But, for some reason, you don’t quit blogging. You do quit writing anything else. You lie about it. You keep up the pretense of being a writer. Your tweets claim #amwriting, but that refers only to blog posts. You email a couple stories to friends asking for feedback, but they are stories written months ago.

Sooner or later, the freefall ends. You hit bottom. You crack wide open. If you’re lucky, you have friends there to give you a little help. And if you’re very lucky, you open up a file you haven’t read in months and read a line or two that amazes you. You don’t remember them, but these are lines you wrote. You wrote! You, the writer.

You stand up, brush yourself off, deal with the cuts and bruises. You move onward and upward. What choice do you have? A writer writes.

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25 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. Linday,

    This is exactly the roller coaster I’ve been on, lately. I know what you speak of. We need to start a writer’s support group or something. I’ll say it feels like the year of rejection, but the truth is that it is just the process and after a while we can’t help but feel the ramifications of it for a little while, even if we think we have the thickest skin in the world:)

    Also, I’m sending you good thoughts on the anniversary of your father’s death. I think those are the times where the raw emotions find a way of surfacing again.



    1. Thank you for the good thoughts, Cristina.

      I know how beautifully you write, so it’s hard to imagine you doubting. Yes, it’s almost impossible to be both a sensitive writer and a thick-skinned business person at the same time, isn’t it? I like your idea of a support group. 😉


  2. We do need a writer’s support group – and the reminder that we may never know the impact our writing has and will keep having on other people. I finally realized that I have to write for me – but it is always great to hear that my words made a difference to someone else too.



    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Dixie. I agree that we need to support each other. Non-writers can’t really understand. 🙂

      And to know that our words make a difference, that’s the dream, isn’t it ?


  3. I think we all have days like that. Where we think “I’ve had enough!” – I know I have come close to giving up my novel, many months ago when I grew so frustrated with it, I started doubting my abilities, and that is exactly what leads you down that rabbit hole. You doubt everything, you hit rock bottom and like you say, you dust yourself off and keep going, but it’s not easy. I’m glad you didn’t delete your blogs! Hope you never do. I have found some great people here, just by blogging, all of us writers, and we all somehow support each other even if it’s by reading each other’s blogs, think that’s a really good thing 🙂


    1. Days I can handle, Alannah, it’s the weeks that did me in. 😕 But it’s always comforting to know I’m not alone. I think only another writer truly understands, so you’re right, we do need to support each other.


  4. Linda, even after publication we have these days. I know I do. But you said something so very important at the end.” A writer writes.” We stick with it, keep doing it, because it is who we are and what we do. I can’t imagine any writer who doesn’t have their down times. I’ve come seriously close to quitting before but I just can’t stay away from the page for too long. I expect it is the same for you.


  5. I haven’t even begun to dream of the query process and I find myself down the rabbit hole all of the time. The rejection letters from poetry publishers are hard enough to face. I can’t imagine how miserable I’ll feel when a novel that I’ve poured so much time into ends up receiving the same plastic and canned nonacceptance.

    But you are right. We find the strength to push ahead when we don’t allow the process to overwhelm us. All we really need to do is pick of the pen and start writing. The simple act of giving that creative energy over and allowing it to inspire our dreams is truly powerful stuff.


    1. Rejection is rejection, Trista. We’re supposed to tell ourselves it’s only business. It still hurts. Like I said to Cristina, we’re supposed to be sensitive and thick-skinned at the same time.
      That’s crazy. But then, we’re a little crazy too … and would no doubt be crazier if we didn’t write. 😀 Like you said, we have to release that creative energy.


  6. Once again, a beautifully written post. The writing journey is an ever-changing one; we are going to lose our way sometimes, but it is the renewal of the journey that brings us closer to our own personal glory. You write beautifully, Linda – glad you’re still on the road.


    1. Thank you, Sharon. True, I’ve been wandered off before; I just didn’t get as lost as this time. But you know, admitting my state was quite a relief, like cleaning out a wound so it can heal. And I’m glad I’m still on the road too.


  7. I’ve been struggling with this more than I’d like to admit – and I don’t have a piece ready to query!

    In my experience, however, some of the greatest victories are acheived after the most painful falls. Rock bottom serves to remind us all that it’s almost never as bad as it seems, and there is always hope. Embrace it – you ARE a writer!


    1. Melissa, I read your blog posts this morning (thanks for the mention) and even though the causes were different, it looks like we both hit bottom … and then bounced back up. Yay for the bounce! Odd maybe, but immediately after I wrote my downfall post I felt a sense of relief. Now I can move on.

      I wish an abundance of good words for us both! 🙂


    1. Thank you, Merrilee. I’m hoping that there’s something salvageable in the teeny bits and pieces I started and abandoned these last weeks. I’m almost afraid to look. 🙂 No matter. The fog is lifting and I can feel more words coming.


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