Sometimes, it feels like drowning

Photo by Toni Frissell, 1947. Public domain.

I love losing myself in writing, entering that otherworld, absorbed in transforming the thoughts, feelings, sights of my mind into words. Beautiful words. That dimension seems like a watery place to me. Yet, air-breather though I am, it feels natural to be in that muted place, suspended between the real and the imagined.

It’s been awhile since I experienced that. I still write. Nearly everyday. But I’m just not that into it. Too much of my mind is snagged on the last novel I wrote. The one I’m querying at, possibly, the worst time in the history of print publication. I can’t let go of that dream, though it’s a heavy weight, and my oxygen supply is dwindling. Hoping is beginning to feel like drowning.

Why did I write that novel? That question always floats to the top. Really. Honestly. Truly. Why?

My primary reason was never to make money, which is good considering today’s publishing economy. Yet, I never planned to give it away. I didn’t write it just to see if I could because I’d already done that with another novel. Did I want to publish this one for the prestige? For the right to call myself an author? No, not that either. Though, like not considering it bourgeoisie to earn money from my writing, I wouldn’t be offended to be touted as a novelist.

But imagined money and fame aside, I do seek acclaim of a sort. I want someone—no, I’ll be honest—I want as many someones as possible to read that novel and feel it was worth their time. I want to hear them say Well done. You gave me a gift. You taught me something. You enriched my life for a moment … today … forever.

I want it to matter to someone else that I lived for a while in that otherworld crafting the best story I knew how.

But now, I’m tired of floating at the bottom. I need to consider the options for rising back to the top. There are dangers in these waters I didn’t see before plunging in. These depths are murkier than I first thought. I’m seeking the clarity.

 
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20 thoughts on “Sometimes, it feels like drowning

  1. If you watch a dog following a scent you’ll notice that it seldom pauses. And when it does, it is only a moment before its back on the ‘trail’ again, nose to the ground. Because what lies ahead is clearly of greater interest than what its left behind. 😉

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  2. “But imagined money and fame aside, I do seek acclaim of a sort. I want someone—no, I’ll be honest—I want as many someones as possible to read that novel and feel it was worth their time. I want to hear them say Well done. You gave me a gift. You taught me something. You enriched my life for a moment … today … forever.”

    Totally with you there. The reality for 99% of us is very little money and fame. But readers who love your work? Pure gold.

    Hang in there, Linda. Keep writing. The love affair with the novel does fade over time, and as you get drawn in by the next story. Find something to really focus on. It’s like a break up. You have to distract yourself until time allows you to heal.

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    1. Merrilee, I’ve found I’m not very good at compartmentalizing. I know I should keep working on the next novel, but right now I’m distracted with a lot of questions about the publishing industry, and my unsettled mind makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. Indecision paralyzes.

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  3. Well, Linda, I haven’t read your novel so I can’t speak to that — but look at the number of people who find something at your blog every time they come to it, and who keep coming back for more. What we’re saying when we come back is: ‘Well done. You gave me a gift. You taught me something. You enriched my life for a moment … today … forever.’

    You spent so much time and energy and love on your last novel that it’s hard to let it go. And it’s not that you should let it go entirely, but once you’ve sent out all the queries you can think of, it might be time to put it on the shelf for a while and start looking around for all the new stories to be told.

    And hang in there while you’re looking. There are a lot of us out here whose lives you’ve already enriched.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say, Natasha. I’m afraid I don’t think of my blog posts as actual writing, so it would never occur to me that’s why you all come back. I think more along the lines of you watching a disaster in progress. 😉

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  4. Perhaps the real question is why do we need the validation of others? Check out (not that its in your interest category) new website … I’m virtually abandoning Q&Q for my new endeavor, more “me” ….

    b.

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    1. Here’s my take, Brett: We need validation because we are social beings. And writers need readers because writing is a form of communication. 🙂

      Checking out your new blog, but if it’s only dogs, I will miss your gorgeous photos of barns and flowers and other things.

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