“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~Maya Angelou
2016 was a very challenging year. I lived with a great deal of physical and emotional pain. Sat next to my mother while she endured surgeries and had to recover from my own hysterectomy in early fall. While all those terrible things were happening my writing found an audience.
I was published and even went viral. One story opened many doors. I felt empowered. I felt like I found may way as a writer. My book was selected for Twitter contests. I made more writerly friends. I had all the support I could imagine, which made the rejections I received less painful.
And then I received a few R&Rs for my YA manuscript and I thought, ooooh this is it! All my hard work is paying off.
But instead of an offer my father had a heart attack and needed a triple by-pass. I rushed to NY to be with him.
The notes I received from agents about my R&R were opposing views. What one loved the other questioned. Yet another had no issues at all with anything the others did, but still wanted a R&R. I began writing to please and lost my way. I lost my MC’s voice. I lost my passion for the story. I lost all the confidence I gained and depression settled in. I had to walk away from years of work and do self-care.
I watched as friends signed with agents, I cheered them on and believed my time was still coming, but couldn’t help but wonder, why are they signed even though they need to do significant revisions and the notes I have ae so minor for R&R? Why am I being tested? I’ve received rejections from agents who say they love my writing but they have no idea how to sell my story. Those kind of notes piled up, and even though it’s a digital note, it carried a weight. It’s message was I’m not good enough. My stories aren’t what they know. But these stories are my truth, and I began taking it personally.
I heard from old friends. They have jobs title’s with Chief in front of them. They earn lots of money. They fly places on vacation and don’t struggle with words on a page or bills.
Everything around me made me feel less than. I knew depression had me good when the crying started. I hate it when the crying starts. I began isolating myself, got off social media, and began the work of getting healthy.
Then I read a post from my friend Tod Goldberg, and despite searching FB I can’t find it now, but it basically said this:
I’m so lucky to be a writer, I spend all day using my imagination to tell stories.
And that made me cry, too. But happy tears because instead of feeling less than for not pursuing a career that would have placed a “C” in front of a long title, I choose this. I am a writer.
I will not stop writing my stories. I won’t stop sharing my experiences in essays and eventually a memoir. I will tell stories with dead people, complicated, unconventional, and messy love because all of that is my truth.
It can be incredibly hard to remain self-motivated. But I’m not a quitter.
See you on the page.
So if you’re having a bout of self-doubt, I feel you. I see you and don’t let that dark voice win.
You can come out of it.