How many writers wake up and say, “How the hell did I get here?” Probably a lot more than will admit. Some are proud and happy where they’re at, but a great many always crave more. That’s part of being a writer.
Nothing is ever good enough. Getting a story published makes you crave to win an award or find a publishing deal for your novella or novel. I accept this “writer’s greed” as part of the bargain. It drives me. Makes me crazy. Tests my patience.
Those who are happy where they’re at often settle, or don’t need to pursue anything further. That leads me to question: Are writers happy? Is happiness what kills the drive to continue looking for more. These are of course silly Sunday morning questions for an author who’s been a bit under-the-weather and is typing in bed.
I recently received a rejection for what has been called a “strong well-written story” by the publications that have rejected it. I finally got a personal rejection to help me understand the reason….the happy ending is less than popular.
Here I am questioning whether happiness destroys a writer’s career, and then I get rejected for having a happy ending. Perfect! That is par for the course for my hilarious journey. I love writing, and it does make me crazy. Well, some days I feel like it’s the only thing keeping me sane. I don’t think I’m any different from most writer in this regard. It’s a strange conundrum.
But I have been doing this long enough to know that, what works for me doesn’t work for everyone else and vice versa. In taking another look at the rejected story, the last paragraph was extraneous. It embellished the ending too far. That is an analogy for all writers in my humble opinion. haha
We always want to take things TOO FAR! It’s what we do. It’s why we need beta readers and editors and publishers to help rein us in. Draw us back when we go further than the average reader can handle.
My space opera series, Embracing Entropy, is damn good. People like it, but I did let my imagination run wild with that one. My publisher helped me to better translate it and I still have to help people with pronunciations.
It’s just another lesson. Good writers take the knowledge and use it for future works. The piece I’m trying to find a fit for right now is going to do well. I can feel it. But she needs polishing, like everything else.
I’m clearly NOT miserable. I’m proud of my body of work so far, but I do hunger to improve and continue to reach a broader audience as I go. That why it’s called a process. Publishing is a long road. It takes a lifetime for a writer to achieve their highest goals. I hope to beat time a little, but nothing is owed to me. No writer is entitled to anything.
I keep that in my back pocket and enjoy what I’m working on at the present. That’s how I can be “miserable” and happy at the same time. It’s how I can content myself with what I’ve accomplished, but crave more. And it’s why I will keep a happy ending for a piece that deserves one, even if the lit community often loves tragedy.
I used to consider tragedies the greatest works of art. I was young. Tragedies are brilliant. They often teach us many things. But they’re generally best for naive minds. The older I get, the more I appreciate stories of redemption. These hold far more depth than any other works.
Whatever the preference is, each writer has their own way. Comprise is necessary, but never let anyone change the heart of a story. I’ve done that before and regretted it. If it’s worth while, the piece will find the home it needs. Never failed me before.