Author, Fiction, Musings, My Books, Novel, Publish, Reader, Reflections, Writing

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. Hang in there. Isn’t life always plunging into something that we never know what the results might be? There must be a way to get around the system to get people life yourself published in one form or another. There has to be.


  2. I find there are five levels to writing:
    1. compulsion
    2. perfectionism
    3. sales to an editor
    4. assisting sales to the public
    5. dealing with fame and superficial relationships.

    The first two make me happy. The third and fourth are a different job altogether, really “work”. I have never been to the 5th. But at my age and circumstances, I stay with what I really enjoy doing. Joseph Campbell had it right: “Follow your bliss.” You will get where you want to be, or on another path that you probably will enjoy. A lot of people will try to make you do what you do not want to do.
    Mary Jean


    1. I like the Joseph Campbell quote, Mary Jean.

      You said: “You will get where you want to be, or on another path that you probably will enjoy.” How about getting where I want to be ON a path I will enjoy? Looking for that.


  3. Your post brings to mind that famous E. L. Doctorow quote about writing: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” (I guess this is quote day.)

    I suppose this is pretty much true of life in general.

    btw, that amazing photograph almost stole me away from your words, I couldn’t stop looking at it.


    1. That photo took my breath away, Cathryn. It almost made me want to write a story. 😉

      I’ve driven at night in the fog, it’s stressful. 😕 But writing doesn’t stress me. It exhilarates, fulfills, and frustrates me, but not stresses me. Deciding what to do with it afterward though, well …


  4. I think I understand how you feel. You’ve invested so much for so long and you had something to say that you were pressed in your heart and spirit to express. I feel this way, too. Yet, there are so many things in life that I don’t understand, and this must be another one of them. I want to put it aside, and I will. As soon as I have done all that I should do to breathe life into it, I will put it aside and move on. You will, too, Linda. You are involved in, absorbed by, accomplishment of that final effort you must exert before plunging freely into your next project. Walk through it one day at a time. Be patient. Blessings to you…


      1. Yes, I understand. It is a long process. I’m not looking forward to this part of it. I hope that I can send out my MS when the time comes and forget it for at least a while. I cannot imagine writing under a deadline, so possibly if I get published, I’ll be a one-book author.

        I wish you every success, Linda. I hope your novel will be published soon. I honestly think it will be. You’ve told a little about it, and it sounds very interesting.


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