Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's All In You

Rain is pourin' down like the heavens are hurtin'
Seems like it's been dark since the devil knows when.
How do you go on, never knowin' for certain,
Will the sun ever shine again?

Feels like it's been years since it started to thunder.
Clouds are campin' out in the valley and glen.
How do you go on, when you can't help but wonder.
Will the sun ever shine again?

What if the rain keeps fallin'?
What if the sky stays gray?
What if the wind keeps squallin'
And never go away?

Will the Sun Ever Shine Again—Bonnie Raitt from Home on the Range

The life of a writer (or really anyone with a dream for that matter) can go through many, many highs and lows. Because I’m the biggest Disney geek you’ll find around these paranormal parts, I’m gonna go with what I know (and just as an aside, have you ever stopped to wonder about just how many paranormal creatures the Disney company uses in its films?) No wonder I love to write in this genre. Weirdness and happy endings.

I’ve been writing for publication for a little over a year. Writing seriously for three. These days, rejections still come but not as hard and heavy as they have in the past. I’m sure when I start querying agents again, this will change. When the big R hits the email box, it stings, but not as much. Still doesn’t keep me from feeling crappy.

No, what really makes me depressed these days is the feeling that I’m a complete and utter failure at my craft. I think all writers serious about their job feel this way from time to time. Let’s face it. Most authors don’t make enough money to shout from the rooftops. I’m sure some of my colleagues will laugh and say they’re doing great. That’s wonderful. I don’t have that luck. I’m still holding out for the day my awesomeness will be recognized. Does the future hope of greatness sustain me now? Sometimes. Other times, I fall right off the fence I’m sitting on and land face down in the dirt, convinced that writing isn’t for me. That I just can’t do it anymore. That no one cares.

Thankfully, I have a great group of friends in my circle that pick me up, slap me around a bit and inject me with confidence and inspiration that keeps me going. Because, after all, we’re all on the same carousel and friends like this are worth their weight in gold.

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs?
I've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin'
Walking around on those - what do you call 'em?
Oh - feet!

Flippin' your fins, you don't get too far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a - what's that word again?

Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin' free - wish I could be
Part of that world

Part of Your World—Little Mermaid by lyrics Howard Ashman music Alan Menken

Ah, this is where I struggle as a writer the most. The old “grass is always greener” scenario. I think “oh, if only I wrote this way, or wrote that, THEN I would succeed.” Once again, the cavalry rides to the rescue and tells me my writing is fine and to stay the course. Eventually, I’ll get there. And after all, success is how we measure ourselves. If I, as the writer, am happy and satisfied with my work, then I am a success. Period.

Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood

Now we are not afraid
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains long
Before we knew we could

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe

Mariah Carey—When You Believe from the Prince of Egypt
(yes not a Disney movie)

Here’s the sticking point. Belief. As a writer, it’s crucial to believe in your work and believe in your ability to write. Because if you can’t believe you can do it, no one else will either. Focus on your dream. Never lose sight of that goal. The moment you take your eyes off the finish line, you’ll stumble. Never give up. Always believe no matter what life hands you: rejections, life crap, noise, busyness. You may have to fight and kick and claw your way to that happy ending, but if you don’t give up, you’ll get there.

Baby, I see your future
And it's tied to mine
I look in your eyes and see
You searching for a sign
But you'll never fall
Till you let go
Don't be so scared
Of what you don't know

True to you heart
You must be true
To your heart
That's when the
Heavens will part
And baby, shower you
With my love
Open your eyes
Your heart can tell
You no lies
And when you're true
To your heart
I know it's gonna lead
You straight to me

True to your Heart—by Stevie Wonder—Mulan

When you sit down at your keyboard or writing tablet to write, make sure you’re not chasing the trends. Theoretically, by the time you finish a book, edit it, go through the submission process, edit it again and get the thing released, that trend will have already been over for a good year or so. Write what’s in your heart. Write the book that sings to you. If it’s a vampire book, fine. But if it’s also a contemporary novel told in the first person (and everyone has told you that first person is out) write the thing anyway. Don’t depress yourself just because “someone” told you “something”. 80 percent of what people tell you is wrong. I think you already know this otherwise you wouldn't be writer ;-)

Just write.

Remember. If you believe in that book, chances are, someone else will too.

And then, you will have arrived.


Rebecca Royce said...

Great blog Sandi!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks! :-)

J Hali said...

*Joann slaps Sandi around a bit, drags her back onto the carousel* NOW! Stay put.

Sandi, your dream will come true, day-by-day, piece-by-piece. You're so focused, and above all, TRUE to yourself.

One day I KNOW I'll get to say, "Yes, I know her, and her work is awesome," when I'm standing next to someone in B&N holding a book with your name on the cover.

Oh, we'll wipe the dirt off your face before I swing your butt back up on the prettiest, biggest horse on the merry-go-round!

Annie Nicholas said...

Just keep writing

Just keep writing



What will you do?


Sandy said...

Very true words, Sandi.

Judith Leger said...

Excellent insight, Sandi! Thanks for sharing with us!

Chandra Ryan said...

Excellent post, Sandy! And so timely for me, personally. Thank you.

Chandra Ryan said...

Sorry, that was supposed to be Sandi. My fingers aren't cooperating this morning.

Gemini said...

Whew, I'm gonna go finish that $%*** WIP with the sagging plot! What an inspiring blog. Thanks. And from you of all people -- you are the most prolific and tenacious tiger I've encountered out here...


Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks ladies :-) And Chandra, I'm glad I could help :-) We all struggle. I think it's important for the writing community to talk about it and let us all know we're not alone.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Gem. :-) I appreciate that.

Lynne Roberts said...

Thank you so much for writing this post, Sandra.

I'm struggle with that feeling of failure from time to time. It's great to know I'm not alone.

For most of us, this business isn't easy on the pocketbook or the ego.

Thank heaven there are support systems.


Mary Ricksen said...

Keep on pluggin' Sandra, you just never know when things will happen. If you give up, you lose your chance.
Keep writing!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Lynne! Glad I could help you.

Mary--thanks for dropping by. I have no intentions of giving up :-)

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

All I can say is - Amen sister!

You hit the nail right on the head. And the lyrics brought me back to my Disney love too! Just the other day was wondering why there weren't anymore of those full-of-song Disneys of the past. Now it's all action and big casts but no songs. Sigh...

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Z! I can't wait to see the latest "The Princess and the Frog". It's song filled and a return to 2-D animation. I'm so excited.