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Writing is a Freefall into Oblivion

Listening to: Shakira – En Vivo Desde Paris

Mood: Meditative

As a writer, not a day goes that by that I don’t I feel like I have split personalities. Part of me is a confident, intelligent, and incredibly capable person who knows how to get shit done. The other half—the artist side of me—is somewhat manic, fluctuating between excited, passionate, and disheartened. I am complex and complicated and eccentric. I rein this is at my day job, putting on a poised and collected (though still fiery) exterior. There’s no situation that I can’t handle, that I can’t find a solution for. I am good at what I do.

But as a writer, I ride highs and lows frequently, like I’m on a never-ending roller coaster. One second I’m writing like a mad woman and I think my idea is utterly brilliant. The next, I’m reading over what I’ve set down on a page and I think it’s total crap. It’s good, no it’s bad, no it’s good. Back and forth. Down the rabbit hole I go.

And then rejection happens. When rejection hits in my day job (because rejection, big or small, is a part of every industry), I don’t let it faze me. But when rejection hits my inbox as a writer, dear God it sucks. It can feel like being punched in the gut. It can also feel like nothing, a blip on my radar. The artist side of me takes rejection one of two ways: “it’s not a big deal, so don’t worry about it” OR “it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of me” (it’s really not, by far).

Writing is a deeply personal and often lonely career. You’re spilling pieces of your soul onto a page, words that make up the fabric of your imagination, all in the hope that one day someone will love your words as much as you do. It’s scary. It’s intimidating. It’s awe-inspiring. It can make you irrational or it can make you ecstatically happy. It’s like falling in love or jumping out of a plane (I equate those feelings as the same in my mind). You’re standing on an edge high above the world, staring down into a great precipice, and forcing yourself to jump, hoping something will help with your descent. All those no’s while you’re waiting for one yes, whether you’re querying, on submission, or your novel is coming out and you’re holding your breath to see if people like it, can feel like a freefall into oblivion.

I may sound like a crazy person, and perhaps I am, but I own that crazy because I love writing despite the highs and lows it brings. I think I’m good at it, but I can be better. I can always be better. You work hard for the things you love, so despite the ups and downs and twists and turns, I keep writing. I keep jumping off that edge. I keep freefalling.

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