Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Do We Do It?

(before I start - You all HAVE seen the new covers for Elana Johnson's POSSESSION and SURRENDER, right? Because they are awesome. Just making sure.)

I'm about to send out the very first round of queries for ONE.

I know the manuscript is ready for professional eyes.
I know the writing is as polished as I can make it.
I know, after two revisions, that I'm happy with the pacing, the voice, the plot, the characters.

And yet, as I queue up the queries in my inbox - one to my Dream Agent - my hands tremble and my heart drops into my stomach.

I know that this book may not sell. Ever.
I know that today is the beginning of setting out on that road, that might end in ONE's living in a drawer.

I've written before about the split personality of a writer - the audacity that enables us to send our work to critique partners' and agents' inboxes and internet contests, paired with the self-doubt that can be, at times, crushing.


We all have those moments when we bury our heads in our hands and think,
"Why do I even bother with this anyway?"


Maybe it's frustration finding ideas, or adding word count to a draft when we have one. Maybe it's a scene we just can't get right, a relationship we can't seem to communicate fully, or a plot hole we can't seem to adequately fill. Maybe it's teasing from a family member or some especially stinging crit.


Maybe it's staring at the draft of an email about to go to your Dream Agent and only being able to think, "Who do I think I am to be sending this to her?"

The drafting, the editing, the critique, the revisions.
The query-writing, the synopsis-composing, the pitch-crafting, the contest-entering.
The rejection, the rejection, the rejection.
 Altogether, it's enough to make you think you're crazy for doing this in the first place.

Right?


So, why do we do it?

For most of us, the reason we write is some subcategory of this -
Because we can't NOT write.
Maybe it's because it gives us a sense of self we can't find anywhere else.
Maybe it's because stories live in our heads and we can't rest until we get them into beautiful words.
Maybe it's because writing gives us something to dream about when nothing else does.

Just like anyone else, I have my own answers. Just like anyone else, those change all the time.

This weekend,  when I was having kind of a tough time with some stinging critique I'd gotten, a different critique partner asked me, "What do you love about ONE?"

And so, through streaming tears, I told her. 
I told her about the characters - and their story - that just won't let me go.
I told her about how superhero stories have always absolutely captivated me.
I told her about how I knew, first hand, about dreams lost, ambitions changed, and things turning out different - but better - than we ever envisioned them.
I told her about how much I LOVED telling a story of empowerment, hope and comfort, despite things not turning out the way we dreamed they would.

At that moment, I knew why I did it - why I poured myself into this whole project. Why it's okay if it never sells, why I'm glad I did it anyway.


Somehow, thinking about that stills my shaking query hand just a little.


So, now it's your turn. Please tell me - Why do you write? 

15 comments:

  1. Best of luck to you!!!

    You already said it - I write because I have to. It comes naturally to me, and if I didn't do it, I don't know who I would be.

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  2. Good luck!!!!!! here's to One being the one :)

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  3. Happy Query Flurry Day! I'm waving my pom poms for you - I made them from the shreds of my LYM ms, LOL

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  4. Good luck, Leigh! Everything is crossed for you :D

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  5. Go, ONE, go!! :D

    You know, ONE has amazing characters and a wonderful premise, but the one thing I loved most about it is that it's brimming with possibilities. It left me feeling like anything is possible, and that's a rare gift. And I'm sure I told you before, but I can't wait to see it fly so high! :)

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  6. Ah, we all have to be a little crazy to pursue this, don't we? I'm SO excited for you!! Good luck with the querying! I'm glad you can recognize and hold onto the heart of your story no matter what :)

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  7. You are amazing, and this book is even more amazing, I promise you no matter what happened you should be super proud :D

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  8. Good luck on querying! I hope your dream agent falls in love with your story. You’re absolutely right... I write because I can't not write. This story that somehow appeared in my head, demands to be heard, so I write it down. Either that or go crazy from the voices in my head. ;)

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  9. Wishing you the best of luck with your queries, keeping my fingers crossed for you <3

    And I agree. We write because it's, to put it in its simplest terms, it's what we do and because it's something we can't not do, if that makes any sense. Well. That's how I think of it :)

    p.s. I think Jessica Salyer nailed it on the head!

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  10. Good luck on querying! I hope One is the ONE. (I'm corny, I know hehe)

    But all of your reasons for writing are the same as mine. Besides, what else would I do with all the voices in my head? :D

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  11. Write because you enjoy it.

    Query because you want the chance to be published traditionally.

    Good luck!

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  12. @Miss Cole - THANK YOU!!! I only *wish* writing came naturally to me. Maybe someday soon. *grin*

    @Cristina - THANK YOU!!! And Oh, Lord. I hope so.

    @Gina - I disapprove of these pompoms. But I couldn't have a better cheerleader on the squad, so I guess I'll let you stay. <3

    @Chanelle - Oh, thank you! That helps! I do believe good vibes from the agented come with extra oomph.

    @Marieke - Oh, I just want to squeeze you. *squeeze*

    @Amanda - Yes. This is completely freaking insane. But at least we're in good company, huh?

    @Emy - Thanks, Love. <3

    @Alexa - I will always love you for reading the messy first draft of ONE and loving it anyway. <3 Also I saw Elias at Starbucks on 14th, we should probably go there together to look for him.

    @Jessica - Thank you for your particular wishes Re: my dream agent. *sigh* I'm just waiting for that shoe to drop. Once that happens I'm sure I'll be more relaxed. :) And, yes. My MC could get pretty bitchy if I didn't pay attention to her. :)

    @Patricia - Thank you SO MUCH! Yeah, I tried NOT writing in November. It wasn't pretty. :)

    @Raven - Thank you! Yep, the voices in my head are getting louder the longer I put off starting that WiP...eek!

    @Jessica - Figured you'd be embarrassed if I said your name. But you saved me. <3

    @Donna - Yeeeeeeeah. That whole "published traditionally" thing. What're the chances....? (food for thought. :))

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