Musings, Personal, Writing

The ups and downs of being a writer

The past five nights, I’ve woken up between two and three am, unable to get back to sleep for an hour to two, tossing and turning, trying in vain to shut my mind down. I know why I’m waking up – I’m anxious, nervous, stressed – all the bad words πŸ™‚ I knew before I sent my first novel out to agents that this world was a tough one – some agents get 5oo submissions a week and maybe take on two or three authors a year as clients. I also knew that 99% of successful authors had some struggle Β to get published Β and I’d wager every author has had at least one rejection, some hundreds.

It’s hard though at two am to be objective. It’s hard to remember that I’m not alone in this struggle to get published. It’s hard to tell myself not to give up. It’s hard not to worry that I’ll never get that agent or deal. It’s like all your fears and doubts crash over you like a huge wave and all self-belief is drowned out. Then the day comes and I find myself frantically checking my email every five minutes. There was the shot of hope when two agents asked to read the whole book (after I sent the first three chapters) then the fear that they won’t like it. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs.

You worry you’ll never be good enough, you’ll never get there.

But just writing this helps. Putting my fears out there gives me a kind of release. I know that I’m not the only one facing all this. And I know that the only way I’ll really fail is if I give up. That I have to try. That I have done really well to have two agents interested, that they haven’t said no, which means they could say yes. That writing is what I love and I that I need to keep going if I want my book on the shelves one day.

That all this anguish will be worth it when I make it. And I’m determined to make it.

It would be nice to sleep well though πŸ™‚

How do you cope with the ups and downs of begin a writer?




46 thoughts on “The ups and downs of being a writer”

  1. I try not to think about my book at night. I can’t do anything about it. I suppose it’s different for me as I’ve published it by myself and so I just have to pick myself up and keep going. Somedays I do feel like giving up but a lot of the time I have this drive to make myself successful.

    oh and thinking about muse helps, too! hehe!

    if you have trouble sleeping, try herbal kalms, which are good!

  2. Distractions. I don’t know how you do it, but I can never write when I’m feeling down about my writing. I will do anything but writing, then when I’m feeling better I’ll attack the keyboard with renewed fervor!

  3. I know the anxiety you feel. As I writer, I feel it too. It’s hard to keep the faith, especially after getting rejections, but we have to because if we don’t, we’ll never succeed. What is great is the overwhelming amount of support you and other writers have through blogs and writers groups. No matter what, we’re there to cheer you on. We want you to have your dream. It makes our own dreams more attainable to see one of our fellow writers ‘make it’ in this world. We’re here for you Victoria. What you’re going through is natural. Try writing something else to get your mind off of what is out in ‘Agentville’. I know it’s helped me in the past. Fingers crossed for fantastic news.

    1. Thank you so much Jenny. Knowing you guys are her with me really helps and that’s great advice. Good luck with you journey too! Hopefully one day we’ll look back and smile at our former selves πŸ™‚

  4. Hang in there, my friend. It’s a crazy journey this writing business. Lots of ups and downs for sure. But it’s in our blood. Like Lord Byron says, “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” I always tell myself, “God’s timing.” It doesn’t always match mine, of course, but I trust it’ll all work out in the end if I persevere. πŸ™‚

  5. Believe!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You should be proud of the fact that you completed your book and sent it out there! I am guessing, but would bet that 90% don’t. I can’t wait for those sleepless nights!
    I am sending you good luck and positive vibes…. πŸ™‚

  6. Still writing my first novel, I find it very stressful. However as it is not my career I can understand the pressure you feel. I also have sleepless nights but when I’m tossing and turning, I just say to myself: ‘You’re never going to get anywhere in life unless you fall asleep’, and that usually works :). You can do it!

  7. Someone will pick up your book and love it, to be sure! And keep in mind that while you’re waiting and posting about this whole ordeal, you’re inspiring many other would-be authors (like myself) to have the courage to try! 😎

  8. This is so true for all of us struggling writers. I cure my sleepless nights by getting up at 4am. πŸ™‚ Hang in there, Vicky. The best medicine you can give yourself is to believe that you will be successful, and to be willing to do what it takes to get where you want to be.

  9. I think we really have to be realistic with ourselves. Our work will be accepted by someone who appreciates it. That’s better than having someone sign up for the job, but not really WANT it and CARE for it.
    Remember the stats. Remember how long it takes for agents to go through piles and piles of submissions. I think (once I submit a manuscript) I’d let it go for about 6 months as it could really take that long to hear anything back. At the 6 month mark, I’d go back to the giant agent list and see who is accepting new authors, and what they are looking for, and start the whole thing again.
    If you get no bites and you truly believe in your work, publish it yourself! There are so many ways to do it now, and you get to keep all the profit. It just means you’ll have to work at promotions. AND remember that it could STILL be picked up by a publisher if you self-pub.
    A little inspiration for you: Google Abigail Gibbs. Amazing story!

  10. I understand the anxiety but I also love your determination. As you say, you have already got a response from two agents and that is pretty impressive in itself. You are a gutsy lass and no mistake. Just keep going

  11. It’s a rollercoaster ride. Requests, rejections, queries, pitching. But trying means the possibility is still alive. And your writing will improve every 6 months of so. That’s when I work on one of my manuscripts and I see things I didn’t/couldn’t see before. πŸ™‚

  12. I understand how you feel. My best advice – other than to keep going of course – is to set other goals and work to achieve success in them. For example, I am taking time out to sit another qualification. I don’t have to but it is something I can do within the next month and be successful at and I find having goals alongside writing helps to maintain a balance and provides a sense of achievement. Clearly it is being published that I am aiming for but in the meantime I feel it is good to chalk up other successes while waiting for agents to get back to you. I hope it works out for you.

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