Well, have you? This writer is waiting for that hug.
Actually, Cort Ruddy of ruddybits.com suggested the hugging. However, I like the advice as well. No surprise since I’m a huge fan of Cort’s writing. And I think you’ll like it to.
A little background: Cort is a writer, husband and father of four, living in upstate New York. When not busy working from home as a Public Relations consultant, he can be found driving kids to various activities, teaching at Syracuse University, and, of course, writing yet-to-be published books and for his blog, ruddybits.com.
Have You Hugged a Writer Today?
Being a writer can really suck. Yet it’s also one of the most soul-cleansing, cathartic and gratifying things a person can do.
I’m a writer, and I love it. But sometimes I hate it.
I think I need to explain.
A few weeks back, Larry asked if I’d be willing to write a guest post for his blog. I’ve gotten to know Larry and his writing through a dad blogger group we’re members of online. (It’s way cooler than it sounds). I said yes, of course, and I immediately didn’t know what the heck I was going to write.
Then Larry announced publicly that he was leaving his full-time job to follow his dreams of writing and of getting published. My first thought was, “Good for you, Larry.”
About an hour later I got a random e-mail from a random literary agent. The meat of the letter went as follows: “After careful consideration, I’ve decided your book project is not for me.” Like Larry, I too have dreams of being a well-published author.
The email wasn’t all that random, actually, considering I wrote the agent a few weeks back to share a non-fiction proposal. But it was random in that it showed up in my inbox as I was about to take the practice field to coach my 8-year-old daughter’s soccer team.
I’ve seen many similar lines in similar e-mails from literary agents, editors and publishers filling my inbox at the oddest, most inopportune times over the years — sitting down to dinner with the family; standing in line at the grocery store; walking into a movie theater on a Friday evening. Apparently that last agent felt the need to reject me before he shut the office down for the weekend.
Random and frequent rejection; that’s how being a writer sucks.
If a writer does their job right, they put their soul into their work. And, though most of us aren’t exactly extroverts, we then put our souls out there for the world to see and to consider. Occasionally, we’ll get something printed. And sometimes a random person at a party will come up and say, “I really enjoyed that article you wrote.”
More often, the people who serve as the gatekeepers of the published world just tell us to move along, usually with a form letter – or, better yet, with no response at all. They step on our soul and pitch it in the recycling bin.
To make it as a writer, we have to get used to the rejection. It happens far more than any anxious, introverted struggling artist should have to bear. We have to just accept it, never letting that rejection turn to dejection.
We can take solace in knowing that even the most accomplished writers deal with tons of rejection. Because they do. At least, I’ve been told they do.
They put up with it because writing is also one of the most important things a person can do with their lives. With it, you can touch people, improve the world, entertain the masses. I may be overstating it, but writing is the stuff of dreams.
There’s something else about us writers: When it comes to whether we should write or not, we don’t really have much choice in the matter. It’s something we have to do. We have to let those words out and put each on paper. Resistance is not just futile, it can be detrimental.
So, we do it. And we just hope the occasional editor likes what we have to say, or that a book agent says “send me more,” or that a few more people at a party come up and say, “I really liked that article.” When that happens, it becomes worth it.
As you dive more fully into this writing world, Larry, pursuing your dream, I want to wish you well. But I also want to encourage you in knowing that there will be lots of rejection ahead. While it doesn’t sound like encouragement, it is. So don’t get discouraged.
And if anyone out there likes something Larry writes, make sure to tell him the next time you see him. Us writers need to hear it. Because being a writer can suck, even though it really doesn’t.
So, good luck, Larry. May you have a best seller very soon … just not before me.