Thursday, July 16, 2009

They die of shame.

Charles Morse: You know, I once read an interesting book which said that most people lost in the wilds, they die of shame... "What did I do wrong? How could I have gotten myself into this?" And so they sit there and they... die. Because they didn't do the one thing that would save their lives.
Robert Green:
And what is that, Charles?
Charles Morse:
David Mamet's The Edge
Okay, I know two days ago I said I'd been having a bad time lately, but, well... it's been REALLY bad. It has the potential to be endlessly-wallowing-in-self-pity bad. Momentum-stoppingly bad. Paralyzingly bad.

But I'm not going to let that happen. I can't seem to get the jobs for which I am eminently qualified? Fine. I'm going to start applying for jobs for which I am over- and under-qualified. Jobs which touch on my skill set, then go in a different direction. I'm going to get creative. I'm going to paper this city with my résumé until something comes up. I am not going to die of shame, thinking that I should have done this, or ought to have done that. Even if it's true that I did something wrong, I have to pick myself up and keep going.

This applies to writing and publishing, too. I can't stand around wondering if I was wrong in submitting a query that listed the actual word count of 60K instead of the 250-word-per-page-count of 68K. I can't undo those queries where I said the book was women's fiction when I probably should have called it chick lit. And I certainly can't write back to those agents trying to fix it. All I can do is be professional, and get the details right on the next submission.

How about you? Did you send out a query before you were ready? Did you say something dumb at a conference? Did you miss an opportunity because you didn't understand that you had to do more work to make it happen? You have NOT burned all your bridges, I promise you. Get professional NOW. Start today. Clean up your queries, do your final polishes, go to a new conference, get a writing critique group going, and find the next opportunity, because the world is big and they are out there, somewhere. Don't die of shame. Keep writing. Keep querying. Think everything through. Get creative. Keep playing the game.

Go kill that bear.

Disclaimer: No bears were harmed in the making of this post. The author of this blog only encourages fighting metaphorical bears, not real ones. And if you do attack a real bear, the author of this blog hopes the bear eats you, because you probably have it coming. And if you haven't seen the movie The Edge, go rent it now. It's very satisfying.


  1. I promise not to attack any real bears. Or teddy bears.

    On my site I posted up the first two nicely edited chpaters of my book.

    I also accidentaly posted up the rest of the unedited stuff I'd writted up to chapter eight.


  2. D'oh! I once accidentally sent out the wrong draft of the first ten pages of my manuscript... it was the version where I hadn't yet fixed the sentence that said something like, "She was wearing a white cotton sweater made of cotton."


  3. Ugh, I hate the 250 words per page estimation. That's gotten me into trouble before. It's also gotten writers I work with in trouble because the company I work for doesn't use it, despite being print media--we just know the acceptable spread for the page count and have really great typesetters.

    Mine was a submission to a writer's conference. I caught it before it went out, but the piece I had was far too long when formatted the way they wanted (I hate Courier). I didn't have another piece to substitute so I summarized parts like crazy. Parts like the first half of the story. Oops.