It’s easy to get discouraged, especially when you’re doing something difficult like writing a book or a song, taking on a new project, caring for a sick person. I’ve been writing a nonfiction book for the past 2+ years, tentatively titled: Through a Dark Ravine: The Way of Disobedience. I’ve done my best to make this personal story honest and compelling, I’ve had readers help me, and I’ve emailed a strong pitch to a number of literary agents. What’s come back is either silence or a polite “No thanks.”
I’m stubborn and motivated, but this got to me and I had to take a break from writing. Had to step back and gain perspective. And in that pause, I picked up a wonderful book by Joyce Carol Oates:
She gave me a new perspective and helped me see that “the writer… is a curious melange of wildly varying states of mind…indecision, frustration, pain, dismay, despair, remorse, impatience, outright failure….the writer, however battered a veteran, can’t have any real faith, any absolute faith, in his stamina (let alone his theoretical “gift) to get him through the ordeal of creating, to the plateau of creation.. The artist, perhaps more than most people, inhabits failure…”
Wow! So instead of hoping for easy or depending on recognition from others, the task is tricky and full of discouragement and yet, if this is something I and others choose to do, then we do it. We do it with our eyes wide open. We do it knowing it’s hard, knowing we’ll get lost, knowing that there are endless deadends but that as we work, we improve our craft. Thank you, Joyce Carol Oates.