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A #ROW80 Update and Thoughts On This Inspiration Thing

First up, the ROW80 update.  Blind Sight, the anthology short story I was writing, is done and OUT THE DOOR.  Huzzah!  So I am back to Red and happy to be there.  I’m at about 1100 words since Sunday (yeah, it’s Wednesday, I’m uncaffeinated, and frankly, I’m too lazy to look up the specifics just now), plus I had a full read through of Red from the beginning over the weekend to get back into that voice after being away from it for three weeks.  The scene that I’m on is taking a bit longer than I’d expected, but it’s turning out differently (and better) than I planned.  Another one of those moments where there’s a lot more overlap and synchronicity than I’d initially realized so that it looks like I did all this stuff on purpose.  Which, technically, once I realized the possibilities were there, I did.  Anyway, the post agent high is wearing off enough that I’m back to almost normal work capacity on the writing front.  I still haven’t quite gotten out of fantasy land to be back to full evil day job productivity.  I keep grinning like an idiot and going off into la la land.  I’m allowed.  I’ve been waiting for this for seventeen years.

I can’t count the number of people who have told me in the last week that I’m an inspiration.  Good gracious, y’all…do you have any idea how heady and HUMBLING that is?  I mean, Claire is always telling me I’m a rock star (because she’s an awesome cheerleader like that and, seriously, if you’re not already following her on her blog or Twitter, you should because she’s awesome.  Wait, I said that…  Well, it’s doubly true.  She’s my little ray o’ sunshine.), but you know, she’s biased, as she’s practically my sister from another mother.  To hear it from a bunch of other people is like…wow!

What is up with all these “likes”?  Do I turn into a valley girl without caffeine? I digress.

The whole writing and publishing business is a hard, hard thing, no matter which route you choose.  From the get go, we are smacked in the face with all these astronomical odds that we’ll ever get an agent, get a contract, get published, that our book will sell…  It’s really easy to let the negativity get you down and just make you want to QUIT.  Except if you do that, you don’t get the excuse of being a writer as why you’ve got voices in your head.  Because it’s not like they shut UP when you’re not writing.  They only tend to get LOUDER.  And even if you do keep slogging on, there’s the great risk of turning into a bitter, cranky, angry person.

I know, I did it.  I spent a LOT of the last decade hanging out in that dark space, not really because the writing thing hadn’t turned into a Thing yet, but because I was raised to believe that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything.  So I busted my tush all through school, excelled academically, graduated at the top of my class for undergrad and grad school.  And…nobody cared.  Contrary to what my parents taught me…working hard in school does NOT automatically guarantee you a good job (the world has changed a lot since THEY graduated college).  Talk about a slap in the face!  I was angry, angry, angry about it.  It was like all my hard work had been wasted.  Not like I would have coasted by if I’d known otherwise because that’s just not in my makeup, but I felt like I’d been the victim of some cruel joke.

Then I started taking writing seriously, making it a priority, doing all the stuff you’re suppose do to improve craft and build a platform.  And it all felt so SLOW because I’d put it off while doing all those other Allegedly Practical Things that were supposed to put me in a position to make a good living.  I admit to being possessed by the Green-Eyed Monster and Hulking out with fury at some of the successes I saw because holy CRAP I was working so hard and didn’t I deserve SOMETHING?  I was really NOT a nice person to be around.

bokeh lantern
Image by Will Montague via Flickr

So to finally, FINALLY have things start to fall into place is just all the sweeter.  I’ve been walking around the last two weeks with a gushy candy coating of happy and it really makes me realize how NOT happy I was before.  And really, there is already enough negativity and BLEH in the world, so to all of you who followed me anyway, thank you for sticking with me.  Moving forward I really want to focus on the positive, not only because there’s a metric ton of it right now, but because I am so GRATEFUL to be able to say that I wasn’t taught wrong.  If you work hard enough, long enough, you really CAN achieve anything you want.  And if I can be a light bobbling along somebody else’s path through the Dark Place to remind them of that, it’s a job I intend to take seriously.

10 thoughts on “A #ROW80 Update and Thoughts On This Inspiration Thing

  1. Hee. Thank you for the shoutout, love!

    You know how proud I am of you. You HAVE worked so hard, and I’m just BEYOND happy about the successes you’ve made for yourself. Your work ethic and smarts have always been inspiring to me, and I’m so glad that others are now coming forward to tell you the same thing.

    You deserve this, hon. Relish all the love coming your way, ’cause we’ve got a lot of it. <3

  2. Good morning, Kait!

    I like feeling the “happy”.

    Dreams deferred too long turn into their evil opposite, so it’s easy to see why you experienced the dark flip side to busting your tail. Repeatedly. So, Cheers to You on your WIP! Ride that agent high – I imagine it will just drive you to Write More Stuff – always a good thing 🙂 See you on Sunday!

  3. Great blog post today, Kait!

    This post hit close to home today because I have really been thinking about continuing on with school. Everyone tells me that I should just finish because I am close, and it will be hard to make money in writing fiction. I hear all these things, but my heart is in writing, and when I have to get up at 2 a.m to do homework just because I couldn’t bring myself to do it before is saying something I think. I also struggle with loyalties to my work, for helping me pay for school, and to everyone else, but when I think about what I want; I want to write!

    I am glad to see that you are back to Red. Congrats on all the amazing success you have had. Thanks for being such a great mushroom eater!

    1. It’s a tough decision to make. I went through all those years of school for something that’s not what I want to do for a career. BUT that being said, I don’t now if I’d be having the success if I’d tried this earlier. Publishing is changing HUGELY, and those changes over the last couple of years are really what put me in a position to HAVE the successes that I have. In old school publishing, I’m not sure I’d be here. And the graduate degree HAS enabled me to come up with an eventual evil day job option where I can work from home and thus have more time to write. All these steps have really shaped who and where I am, so it’s hard to say that things would have worked out better if I’d taken a different path.

  4. Great to see you so squee-ful of happiness. That envy thing you mentioned, that consumes a lot of writers, so much that they forget to write, and never get anywhere. The ones who drag themselves over that have the strength to make it, however long it takes. Lots of people wait for their day in the sun but things have changed and now writers have the chance to reach for their time and grab it with both hands. It comes easier to others but it’s never over, that’s the beauty of it – there’s always another chance now and there’s a path for everyone, it’s just that most of us have to dig it and pave it ourselves.

  5. It’s so great to so you happy! You deserve every single minute of the happy. Hard work does pay off eventually, especially when you make the right decisions later. My true love was writing, even as a child. But I took business and management courses because I was afraid to depend on writing. If I had it to do over again….

    1. I’d like to take the middle road with my kids if they are passionate about some “impractical” pursuit. I get that my parents’ reservations about writing as a career stemmed from just wanting me to be financially stable. But they could have encouraged my pursuit of my passion while also strongly encouraging the pursuit of practical things as a backup plan. That’s still supportive and realistic.

  6. Ah, the dark side. It is fustrating to feel like your are spinning your wheels and getting no where. What a great post. I hope you do not mind, but I have shared this post with my friends on Facebook….my Local Writing Group friends.
    I know there is a lot for me to learn, and after reading this post, all I can say is Wow. I only have been at this for two years now, and I can see I have a long, long way to go. But this is good.
    I hope you will not mind being a flash light when I find myself on the Dark Side.

  7. “So I busted my tush all through school, excelled academically, graduated at the top of my class for undergrad and grad school. And…nobody cared. Contrary to what my parents taught me…working hard in school does NOT automatically guarantee you a good job (the world has changed a lot since THEY graduated college). Talk about a slap in the face! I was angry, angry, angry about it. It was like all my hard work had been wasted.”

    Yep. Been there. I think I spent my whole 20’s mad and disillusioned. Now, mid-thirties, I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride. Oh how I feel for those kids that are graduating in this economy. It was hard enough when the economy was “good”.

    Congrats to you! 🙂

  8. I totally understand what it’s like to work hard and not get anywhere, and I can relate to the not being happy thing, too. Fortunately, I’ve made some changes that allowed me to leave a lot of that angst behind. I’m glad things are looking up for you.

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