Saturday, November 24, 2012

Believing in Yourself

Okay, this may be way too honest...

I've been pretty down on myself lately. For not doing enough...not being enough...not being successful in this old writing business. I haven't felt like blogging or tweeting or any of the hoohaw I usually love to do. I just feel blah. I know publishing is a super tough business. Yes. I. Know.

I've had a number of people tell me that you won't succeed unless you believe in yourself. Well, I must believe in my writing because I let people look at it. (Yes, this is a big step from the way I used to be when I did not believe in my writing!) It helps that I've had interest from major publishers and yeah, I've sold a book. I know that my writing doesn't suck. But right at this moment it feels like its not enough. I want something new. Something amazing to happen. Like selling another book. It's a vicious circle this writing thing!

I'm not all that impatient. I'm pretty skilled at this waiting game. Lately though, while I'm waiting I'm wondering...will anything ever be good enough? I feel like it is, but maybe that's just me being silly. (I do tend to get quite silly so this is a real possibility.) Anyhow, my belief? Meh.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that I've had the successes I have had. I've tried quitting writing before and believe me, that's never going to happen. I guess I just wonder sometimes if I should be trying harder. Or maybe I'm trying too hard? I don't know. I have lots of manuscripts. Lots of works in progress. Way too many ideas. And there's always opportunities. I think I just need to avoid the thinking about whether or not I'm going to succeed in a material sense.

I don't think the way I feel is all that unusual. As creators we're the ones that have to believe in our work first, even when no one else knows about it. (Or when they do and keep asking when our next book is going to be out.) It's easy for a while. But to keep it up for months... years... there's bound to be those times we wonder if what we write is good enough.

There is more to writing than publishing. Being excited about a story. Enjoying the process. Loving the writing community. Loving that my kids like to hear my stories, and write with me. Those are the things that fill me with hope and make me succeed, whether I sell a book or not.


  1. Heather, wow. I feel your pain. Would it be any consolation to you to know that I've been writing kids' books for over 16 years, have gotten some very positive feedback along the way, but have yet to be published and currently do not even have an agent? Most of the time I, too, know that my writing doesn't suck, but man, there are days... weeks... All I can say is: hang in there. I'm going to. You have a wonderful blog and lots of followers. That has to count for something!

  2. Oh Unpub, it does not make me feel better to hear this, it makes me feel your pain as well. I know there are lots of us out there. That's just the way it is. Ah writing. We just have to love it. I will hang in there with you!

  3. Heather, I TOTALLY get where you're coming from and how you feel. I could have written this post word for word, and believe me, I've been seriously tempted to any number of times over the last year. I guess this is just a tough business we're in, at a particularly tough time, and I know that the kind of writing I do best isn't the easiest kind to sell... but that doesn't make it any easier showing up each day, working hard, and having pretty much nothing to show for it at day's end... or week's end or month's end... and at this point we're talking years' end. But we both know nothing will EVER happen if we don't show up and work, so we do, and at the very least, you're not alone in feeling this way! :) Good luck. Hang in there. This could be the day, or the week, or the month when that good news finally comes along :)

  4. Heather, thank you SO MUCH for following my blog! I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I enjoy yours. Kidlit authors are the best, yes? Like a farflung, crazy, loving family. Here's wishing you some very good news.

  5. Heather, I know I don't post enough comments here on your blog, but I visit often. I mean, often. I SO enjoy reading your agent interview posts. They've given me inspiration, hope, determination, and ultimately, the ability to send manuscripts to worthy lit. agents! You have to know how super your efforts are!! As for the publishing side, I'm with you. As Unpub said, "I feel your pain." It is tough. But look, you've done it! You have a published PB!! Not many of us can say that. It's natural for us to get down, but then, we have to lift ourselves back up and do what we're born to do. Write.

    Hugs & Hang in there!

  6. You know, I kind of felt like I shouldn't write this post...or post it, but I knew other people would feel the same way so I just went for it.

    Striving to be a published writer is so contradictory. On the one hand we are supposed to believe in our work and immerse ourselves in the market. It is all consuming. On the other hand, we are supposed to be okay with writing because we love it and never having our words make it into actual book form. It's tough to do both!

    It's true, Susanna, nothing will ever happen if we don't try so we have to keep on going. You truly just never know what will happen. That is one thing that makes submissions so exciting. And kidlit writers are like some crazy fun far-flung family. I love it. It definitely helps us keep going I think.

    I read blogs when I can, but I definitely don't comment on them as much as I should, Candi. Blog reading seems to be my time to "relax" and my brain just doesn't always want to form comments, even though I love what I'm reading. So I guess what I'm saying is I totally understand. I can see how many people use my listing though, which is really fun. Having a blog that helps other writers is really rewarding. Mine is nothing, you should check out Susanna's(if you haven't already). She is amazing! I am really excited to hear that you are subbing, Candi! Write(and sub) on everybody!

  7. Hey, I'm back. Not stalking, just figured I might check back in regarding this post. Thanks for the friending on FB. :) I am subbing, and some days are better than others. My problem is I want to write everything and I'm struggling with sticking to a genre. What have I written the most? PBs, but I have a desire to write MG or YA. *shakes head* I have five complete PBs I'm working with. My first, I caved and published as an ebook with uTales. I loved working with uTales, but I always envisioned my story in print. I'd like to have a home for the other four, but I realize that's not realistic. So, for now, I'm crossing my fingers for one to make it. We'll see. As for being down, we all get to that place, but we get back up. Right? I've checked out Susanna's and I really need to go by more often. There's just so much out there with all the social media; it's hard to keep up. Sticking together, supporting one another is important for writers, I think. Keep your chin high. Keep subbing. Keep writing. I like to call it the 3 keeps.

  8. I don't think you're stalking. I'm the one that friended you on facebook! ;) As for genre, I actually think it is good to write in more than one, especially if you write picture books because lets be honest, they are probably the hardest sell, super tough to get an agent for, and they don't bring in much money when you do sell them. Why not diversify if you want to and can? I say go for it!

    As far as social media and online networking goes, I know, there is so much I want to keep up with too but it is hard. We all do what we can and I think we all understand. I wish all of us children's book writers just lived by each other. It would make life so much easier.

    I am in keeping with the 3 keeps! Write on my friend!