Before and After

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Joined: January 14th, 2010, 6:57 pm

Before and After

Post by Suzanne » January 14th, 2010, 7:04 pm

Before I decided to write a memoir, I was a perfectly normal person. You know, I ate a lot of frozen pizza, watched reruns of Three's Company on Saturday afternoon, met friends for coffee or a glass of wine, and read books for pleasure.

Fast forward a year and a half. The only thing remotely similar about my life since I willingly embarked on this masochistic journey to “become a writer” is the frozen pizza.

First, there was writing the blasted thing. I think we all know what a rollercoaster ride that is. One minute, I’m high as a kite. I am the love child of Augusten Burroughs and Susan Jane Gilman - however unlikely this may seem. I am funny, irreverent…and I have something to say, damn it.

Forty-five seconds later, I am crumpled in a dejected heap, sobbing into my Gin Gimlet, convinced there has never been a writer as audaciously terrible, notoriously neurotic or grammatically challenged as I am.

But I am not just a bad writer. Oh no. This is a memoir I’m writing. Therefore I am not only a terrible scribe, I’m also a shallow, trite, intrinsically flawed human being. I am, fundamentally, unlovable.

And on it goes.

Then comes the querying process. The obsessive lurking (yes, I admit it) on industry blogs. The cyber crushes on Novel Pimpers and Agents with orange blogs. The insane amount of time spent with Query Tracker and Writer’s Market while fondling a sawed-off shotgun. Kristen Nelson reported six new clients from 38,000 queries in one year alone. That’s a one percent success rate, right? Or is it less? Oh dear God, it’s less, isn’t it? Is it a half a percent?

I don’t know what the hell percentage it is because I dropped out of math to become a writer.

(Cue internal monologue: My guidance counselor was right. I am going to live under a bridge and a shopping cart will be my primary mode of transport.)

Then, you get plucked from the slush! You find your agent…your soul mate. Oh! You are complete. The joy, the revelry…you have ascertained the pinnacle of life’s great achievements.

Until you haven’t. Until you realize all you’ve done is reach the foot of the next bloody mountain. Because everything you promised yourself (Like: If I find an agent I will be content and validated! is just a lie.)

Because now you have to find an editor. And when that happens, you will be content, and joyful and successful. Um, until you need to find readership, master self-promotion, learn how to pimp yourself up into a neat, tidy saleable package, conquer the world and write the next Eat, Pray, Love. Because then, finally, Oprah will call.

But until she does, on and on it goes. Choosing this writing life means there is no end in sight.

There is only before, and after.

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Joined: January 14th, 2010, 7:01 pm

Re: Before and After

Post by emilycross » January 14th, 2010, 7:19 pm

Very true!

I'm gaining lots of wise quotes wandering this forum, adding yours to my list :)

Best of luck in contest!

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marilyn peake
Posts: 304
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 4:29 pm

Re: Before and After

Post by marilyn peake » January 14th, 2010, 7:45 pm

You speak the truth. I laughed, I cried ... I loved your post.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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