WARNING: this is a no-edit zone…
First–indulge me while I get this out of my system–congratulations, Taylor!!!! Orange Beach/Gulf Shores and Birmingham celebrated huge and, yes, you do make us proud. 🙂
Now on to writers and hitting brick walls.
If you write for any length of time, you eventually run into one or more of them. Whether it’s in the writing or in landing that dream agent or in selling what you’ve written. You can fall into a pit of despair, rail against the injustice of it, or you can accept that brick walls go with the turf and take action to change your circumstance.
It goes without saying that the last reaction is the one that takes the least toll on you, emotionally and, yes, even physically. It’s like Meatloaf said last night, “You’re going to have ups and downs.” I think that’s true in any creative endeavor. But there’s a world of difference in how those ups and downs impact you, and the guiding factor is your outlook.
If you perceive every brick wall as a major crisis that derails you for an indefinite period of time, obviously the impact is stronger. That affects the writing and your life. If you hit the wall and doing so quickly gets your attention and you change directions–read that, take action to alter your circumstance–then you’ve spent little time as a reactive “victim” and quickly moved into an active role. In active roles, we’re driving our proverbial boats. We might still be at sea, but we’re in control.
Over the years, I’ve seen far too many writers get a rejection letter and let them eat at them for days or even weeks. I don’t mean that they feel the sting. I meant it renders them unable to function or to think of anything else. Maybe it’s because I’ve received so many that they barely warrant a lifted brow. That the most reaction I can muster is, “Wrong project, wrong house, wrong time” or the like. Or maybe the reason I can’t get more emotional about them is because I’ve seen the damage they can do to writers who let them.
You know, brick walls aren’t a bad thing. They let you know you’re at a turning point, and those are good things. Being inflexible and unchanging in a rapidly changing world isn’t a good thing unless you’re talking about retaining your faith in yourself or something of that nature. If you look at the wall as an opportunity to change, to try something new, it can be exciting. It just depends on how you view it.
Admittedly, when times are tough, it can be hard. When you know you’ve got a project that is meaningful and can make a difference, it can be frustrating for others not to see that. But it doesn’t mean they won’t see it forever. It means they didn’t see it at that moment in time. I’ve sold many books that were written years earlier. Some as many as 6 years–8 or 9 years, if we’re talking about the difference in when they were written and published. No now doesn’t mean no forever.
I think that’s an important something to remember… just as Meatloaf’s comment about the music world holds value for writers, too. Ups and downs. Brick walls. All of these trials hold an equal chance of being an opportunity–if we choose to see them as such. It’s really up to us.
I’m looking back over the past 18 years here at some of the brick walls I’ve hit. And a truth is emerging. Those walls forced me to move in new directions in the work and in the way I viewed the work. In hindsight, I’d say that while they didn’t feel so great at the time, they have proven to be good things–for the work and for me.
I hope this helps!