"Mom. Dad. There's something I have to tell you."
Right about now they're thinking you're either gay, pregnant, or a Republican.
"I'm a writer," you say.
Cue massive intake of air, head-shaking, tears, rants, and the inevitable: "Why couldn't you be unemployed like the rest of your age group?"
"But, really, I can like, make up stories and stuff all by myself!"
It doesn't help. They're distraught.
But it's not the writer part that worries them. It's the extra padding. You know what I'm talking about. Remember when Pandora opened that box?
Writers uncap a pen or order up a new document on Microsoft Word - and there's no going back. Here come the demons. Here come the angels.
"I just had an idea so good that I pissed myself and I don't have time to clean up because I've gotta get to my computer."
We love Inspiration. She's capricious, hard-to-get, and oh-so-hard to keep, like that person you dated who was better-looking than you and you knew it and they knew it but you hoped it wouldn't matter. But fun was had, right?
"How come Stephenie Meyer can write a bestseller in six months and I've been working on my YA fantasy for five years? Oh, the agony!"
Next to the word "awesome" in the dictionary is a picture of Stephenie Meyer. This lady dreams, writes, and succeeds. And the problem is...?
But in all seriousness, Jealousy's a bee-yotch with an axe to grind. We all want it. It. Recognition. Applause. The occasional vow of immortal fandom. But writing's not about that, is it? Jealousy is the one who makes you forget what it's really about:
"I just wrote a four-hundred page novel. Rinse and repeat. I just wrote a four-hundred page novel. No one else will ever write this novel. I wrote it. And it's mine. And I think it's awesome. I'm like a super-hero or something!"
And to quote the Hokey-Pokey: "That's what it's all about!"
It is, folks.
"I think a zombie ate my brain last night. I can't write. I can't outline. Am I even a writer anymore? Oh my God! What am I?"
And then you jump through a window.
Okay, maybe not. But the Block - Writer's Block to be exact - is akin to that ear infection I had last week.
It sucks. There's no cure. And you just have to wait it out.
Until Hope comes along.
Miss Inspiration's cousin. The moment you write that draft and you know. This is it. I've done it. All that work paid off. This might be something. In fact, it is something because I've already put the work in.
Just as hard to keep, but Hope ain't so fickle. She'll settle down with you for the long-run if you give her a chance.
"A werewolf just clawed out my insides."
How could they reject ME? How could they reject THIS? This is...this is...
Wrong place, wrong time. Not their preference. You made a typo in the query letter.
Keep on movin', bucko. Life's for the living, not the despairing. Write on!
"Oh, you guys again? I wrote the draft just how you wanted it and you're still not happy?"
Nope. They won't ever be happy. But you're the parent. Tell them when bed-time is and make sure they brush their teeth. Just don't forget to let 'em play in the mud every once in a while. They might find buried treasure.
[TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW]