Hit me, baby, one more time
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read those words or something similar to them on Twitter from other writers. It floors me at how self-depreciating we can be. How it is we can keep sticking our hearts out on the line, having our hands slammed in open doors of opportunity and still sit down at a keyboard and write. Writers, artists, all creative types: we are all incredibly amazing, resilient and sometimes stupid people.
Maybe stupid isn’t a good word. Maybe it’s more that we’re masochists. We put our hard work on the line, let editors rip it to shreds, cut our marble statues into something greater as we chisel away until we have a work we feel is up to snuff. Then we take those works and throw them under the wheels of publishers and hope that one day we might just have something worthwhile.
And we do it time and time again.
I am a talentless hack. I will never be a published writer with anything resembling big-time. Despite having work published, no one will ever accept my work who doesn’t know me personally. My voice is too passive, my modifiers uncut, and I’m sure my participles dangle. I have been rejected every time I’ve submitted a story for submission to a certain publisher I’ve had my eye on. Yet I just put in two more pieces to them in the daft hope they’ll accept me. I even made the mistake of submitting to someone I have a writerly intellectual crush on so now I wait to see if they’re going to call me out and tell me how terrible I am.
I am one of the worst masochists I know.
Today I called on the help of a friend who told me as he was working on quantum mechanics, “Writing is hard and it’s a hard balance. You have think you’re awesome enough to keep writing, but also hate yourself enough to constantly fight to improve.”
He’s right. It’s a hard balance of self-talk and masochism that merengue through the tropical storm of kids karate and ballet lessons, cooking meals and making sure the cleanliness level of your house won’t get you brought up on charges of child endangerment. It’s finding time to glue your ass to a seat and focus through a million questions about the wonders of the universe and how to clean up after themselves so you can put words on a page that aren’t a recitation of what they’ve just asked. This goes for adults as well as children. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write and my household has to ask me questions RIGHT THEN about everything under the sun.
I am a talentless hack who is striving to be better so the editor I scared off might actually want to read over my stuff again. I want her to look at the first few chapters of the book and say, “Wow. She’s not so bad. Let’s look at whipping this into shape.”
I can do this. One more time.