Misery in the Reference/Resource aisle

So, I went to the library and Barnes & Noble to do a little market research and check out the latest titles in my genre. Maybe a quick browse through the how-to publishing guides too.

One of the poorest decisions of my day.

I can’t imagine having the will to write—let alone live—after reading all those guides to publishing and getting an agent. The basic message is that it’s impossible, not only because your book sucks worse than you know, but also because publishing is a big, cold business and nobody cares and everybody is overworked and understaffed (except you, anyway, because you don’t have a staff).

Mostly I walk away with my hands over my ears singing la las. The alternative is total dejection and misery.

Who would invest so much time and money in a bunch of books that verbally beat you down? I’m not saying there’s not a lot of truth in them, but I am saying that it completely sucks the marrow out of any creative impulse I might have.

Maybe it’s a timing issue.

Because even though I’m sending out one manuscript, I’m also a couple of chapters into the new book, and it’s still at that exhilarating stage that can so easily tip into exhausting when I think about how long I have to go and how I may not even be able to sell it when I’m done, and basically my life sucks.

Which is when Carl helpfully reminds me of one of his favorite quotes from the movie Cool Runnings about how “if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” Which is helpful. I guess. Except sometimes I get wound up so tightly that it’s hard to even see the rest of my life, let alone find deep fulfillment and meaning in it.

I dunno.

Maybe I just need to be better about gauging my mental health before wandering into a bookstore.

And then I see all these other people in the world who look happy and don’t seem to be writing or revising or trying to sell a manuscript. I wonder how they do it.

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