Some days are harder than others.
This morning the alarm went off and I groaned. I can’t face today. I just want to sleep forever. But instead I roll over and shuffle to the bathroom. I brush my teeth in a Monday morning fog and sit down at my computer with a sense of dread. But I am here. I am doing it. The words trickle out—it’s a slow morning for me, not even 600 words, but I did it. I sat here for my morning writing session and did what I could. That’s a victory. My Monday is already looking up.
The feeling doesn’t last. I scan my query list. Outstanding queries waiting to be closed for no response. An ever-dwindling number of agents left to query. The palpable feeling of failure that accompanies yet another soon-to-be-trunked novel. I really liked this one, but no one else does. Why? No idea. I haven’t netted a single non-form rejection that would give me any insight.
The worst part—the thing that makes me want to cry into my afternoon tea—is that I am doing everything I can. I quite honestly have no idea what else to do. It is the thing I want most in my life, one of the very few things that I have any ambition about at all, and I am floundering. “The secret to getting published is writing a great novel,” people advise. I envision them nodding sagely to each other behind publishing contracts. I fucking know that. I’m doing my best. I write a novel and edit it and love it and then trunk it and try again. I kill my darlings and write new darlings, I practice my writing and buff up on my comma placement and sentence structure. I take it very seriously. I read books and articles on craft and the writing business. I pore over agent details, trying to concoct that perfect line of personalization that will make them spend more than .4 seconds on my query.
None of it works.
So where do I go from here? What else is there to do? I’m getting a worse response for novel 7 than novel 6. I could hardly be said to be improving in any meaningful sense of the word. I am willing to do things, but I don’t know what things to do. My options are to give up, which makes me a quitter and guarantees I will never achieve that dream, or to keep doing this, which is the definition of insanity.