Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Battle Fatigue

It's a battle to get published. We all know this. But I think if you've been in this game for a long time and you've fought and fought to hear those magical words of, "I want to represent you" or "I want to buy your book," and you have yet to hear them...well, battle fatigue sets in.

Like the State Farm commercials say, "I'm there." I modify it to say, "I am so there. "

Rejections are part of this business. But it seems that those rejections come a lot faster when you don't write the "normal" type of fiction. What is normal? Hmm. Well, perhaps that is a wrong choice of words. But for example, I don't write what's "hot." I don't write fantasy or paranormal or vampire novels. Heck, I don't even write novels set in the Regency anymore (though I do have one of those languishing on my hard drive that will never see a bookshelf and that is a-ok with me) or even novels set during contemporary times.

I write novels set during World War II.

And yes, there are many novels set during this war out there - but the majority of them are thrillers or deal with the Holocaust or are more literary in tone. (If I lived in England, well, it would be a different story. There's LOTS of WW2 novels over there!)

I don't write literary. I don't write thrillers (though I'd love to be able to as I love to read thrillers - but my talent does not shine in this format). My stories are simple, as I've blogged about before. I believe there is a market for them. I know this in my heart. And the book I'm shopping around right now to agents is a deep reflection of who I am as a storyteller. It is the first book that I truly believe showcases my voice. Simply put, I love and adore this story.

All I have to do is wait for an agent to read my query, request my novel, and then say the same thing - that they love my book, that they want to get behind it 100% and find it a home on the shelf. I keep telling myself that when a rejections come in, it wasn't meant to be, that God has a plan and I have to wait on Him - my motto is, "His time, not mine."

But the battle sometimes gets me down. I feel weak and battered, and want to go hide in a corner and eat lots of chocolate.

I'm not looking for sympathy or any, "Poor you. Don't give up. It will get better!" Reason being, I know all this. I'm not giving up the fight. I am just weary, that's all.

I might take a hiatus from blogging for awhile, or I might just post whenever I feel the need. Lately, though, I've felt more of a "I have to write a post" feeling rather than "I want to write a post." It's no fun when you're blogging because you have to.

There's been a lot of regrouping, rethinking, and redoing in my life lately. This thought-process has fallen on just about every spectrum it can - my health, my role as as mother, co-worker, and friend, my faith, my career, and yes, my writing.

Sometimes, you have to hunker down in the foxhole and stay put. Sometimes you have to get out and yell, "Charge!" Well, I'm in the hunker phase. The shells are exploding overhead, I can smell the smoke and sweat of battle, but I'm not going anywhere. So while I'm still in the battle, I'm holding back for a minute, looking at the situation, and seeing which direction to take next.


  1. I hear ya, Lis. I think that's why I've thrown myself so hard into the library world. I just needed a break for a bit, so I could rediscover the joy of writing as opposed to the frustrations over selling what I've already written.

    Enjoy your foxhole :)

  2. Foxholes can be fine places, and we all need 'em from time to time. Just make it as comfortable as you can, and don't beat yourself up over the need to be in one for a while.

    Maybe use the time to explore being in the present?

  3. I've been spending some time hunkering down too. Sometimes, it's just too dangerous to lift your head much higher, you know? That one stray bullet might just do me in. So, it's better to take some time before you brave the fray again. I hear you. And I'll always be here when you get back.

  4. There you go again, girl, speaking all the words I've been thinking lately. And to blog, or not to blog IS an issue. Of course we'll deal with it, like all the other stuff. Guess you know that it's true, even if it's corny: you're not alone.

  5. Hunker down, girl, hunker down. I respect your decision, and I think you'll be glad you took a break. It can do wonders!

  6. I'll miss you if you take a break but I certainly understand. Sometimes fighting the good fight just makes you bone weary. Get some rest, dear friend.

  7. Hunkering down when you're weary is a good thing. We're still committed to the goal, we know what we need to do to get there, but we need to get our second wind. You'll come through the other side with more energy and possibly some great ideas that you wouldn't have had if you hadn't allowed yourself time to breathe.

  8. I know just how you feel. I was feeling a bit weary, but my week's break has done me the world of good. Take a break and don't beat yourself up. You'll feel much better for it.

  9. Oooh, love the background.

    I know what you mean. Rejections are battering on the psyche but they are part of the process. Especially when you know its going to be a tough sell from the outset.

    And blogging has been tough for me as well. I'm doing good if I can get a couple of posts a week. After so many years of doing this, I dont' have as much to say.

  10. I'm glad you wrote this post today. I'm exactly where you are and I don't like it. I have had a few rejections already on this book of mine that I poured everything into. I know it's what will happen but you know it would be nicer if we didn't have to go through this part. As to blogging, I blog when I feel I have something to say--not because I have to.
    Today your post was so valuable to me. I need to hear where other writers are at emotionally. It speaks more to me than anything.

  11. I backed off on the blogging as well, and only do it when I have something to say, because it got to where I was struggling just to come up with a post. I've noticed the comments went down because of it, but well, life gets in the way sometimes. I end up going in spurts, too. I'll blog for 4-5 days in a row, then nothing for a few days. My family has to take priority, and after that, the writing that puts me here in the first place.

    Rejuvenate your soul and come back when you feel the urge!! We'll still be here!

  12. Girl, for me taking a break does wonders. I'm talking blogging right now, but I know it works for writing too. Keeping at it doesn't mean we don't take off every now and then to just rest. I think we tire ourselves out with the pressure we place on ourselves to blog/write/ect, at least I do.

    I'm thinking of you and glad to be getting back after my "rest!"

  13. Start pitching to agents and publishers in the UK. And Australia and New Zealand. And Canada. There's no rule that says you have to publish here first.


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