A couple of nights ago while I was at the parent meeting at my son's school for next year, feeling extremely uncomfortable in my skin and with people I used to think were loose friends, I had an epiphany - one single ray of sunlight amid my gloom.
Just an hour before the meeting my husband had a meeting that could have changed everything - a meeting to find out who was getting fired at his workplace. It could have been him, but wasn't. My husband and I are huge believers in risk management. We decided to proactively go on a tighter budget, and he will look for jobs. It won't hurt, he said. I agreed.
The epiphany is this: if it doesn't hurt him to fill out job applications, wait for interviews, and stuff himself into a suit for multiple interviews, it shouldn't hurt me to finish my novels and send them to get published. It's scary, but it doesn't hurt. And it can't really be any more terrifying than interviewing for jobs. It really is the same thing, except I don't have to suit up - thank God!
Risking rejection by sending out query letters or manuscripts is the same as the risk you take applying for a job. All you can do is put yourself out there and wait to see if what you have to offer is what the other person is looking for and vice versa.
Many people write or say that it's virtually impossible to get your novel published. The market is flooded with fiction. Well, I think the job market is the same way. Even when the economy was good and I was working a traditional job, we got hundreds of applications for one open position. The chances of getting a job you want right now, especially in Ohio, are terrible. But I know my ex will find one eventually if he perseveres and doesn't give up on himself. And I know my husband will find something really great too or will make the most of what he has. It will take time, and they will need to work on it diligently and with confidence. I see no difference with writing.
So, in solidarity with my very brave husband, I am going to work my butt off on my novels - on editing my last two, and finishing my next two - one chapter at a time, one day at a time. By the end of this calendar year, I will have four novels (maybe novellas) and several short stories completed. This year I will write, next year I will work on getting published - and hopefully write four more....