Thursday, September 13, 2012

Enduring a Look of Pity

Earlier this week, my husband and I had a routine meeting with our financial guy.  He asked me if I'm working.  I said I've written three novels (one is a middle grade chapter book, but it's easier to lump it into the category of novel than have to explain it).  He asked the question many of us hate to hear:  "Did you get them published?!"  He asked it with great enthusiasm as if everything depended on it. 

"No," I said.  He looked at me with complete pity.  So I added, "But I haven't tried yet."  He looked confused.

I told him I am starting a new historical fiction series.  His eyes glassed over with complete disinterest, and my husband and the guy discussed their love of science fiction and what sci-fi stories they would write.  I stopped listening and helped my preschooler draw eyeballs (dots) on a jail (a square-ish squiggly shape he drew on a piece of printer paper).

I am happy to say I did not feel demotivated or demoralized or whatever other sad, negative word properly describes the feeling I could have been feeling. 

I know I'm on the right path for me.  Of the three adults in the room, I know I am the only one that could immerse myself in my little guy's fantasy world, and I'm the only one that will complete the act of writing the stories that fill my mind. 

What my husband does get is the reason I'm waiting to seek publication.  I haven't finished all the edits on my first three.  They are done but need some polishing.  Getting everything perfect takes time.  It takes time to develop our craft. 

I have never been patient, especially with myself.  But I know I have the patience to stay the course, to write the next novel, to edit the previous one, to write the next, and on and on until I think they are ready.  No one gets a say in that (except my critique partner).

21 comments:

  1. Don't let that financial guy deter you. He just knows numbers anyway.

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    1. No, he's a good guy. He just wanted me to get busy and make some money.

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  2. And might I add, if you self publish anything can go a muck like your file getting infected from too may visits into cyber-space. My novel is still in proof-reads. I feel like some of my friends think I'm lying about my book coming out this year.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. You're so close. Hang in there. Your friends will be very impressed. :)

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  3. Yup to what Alex said. Just do what you're doing, Tonja.
    Karen

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  4. I've endured looks of pity myself. It is good to know you are not alone, and other bloggers know exactly what you're talking about- we've all been there! I'm glad you are not allowing ignorant opinions/attitudes to affect you.

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    1. I understand how long of a road this is. I think having a realistic expectation is important.

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  5. "eyes glassed over" <- I'm getting very used to this look when I talk to non-writers about my projects.

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    1. It's good to be at the point where we can shrug it off.

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  6. I've mentioned my writing to our financial guy, too. (just yesterday, I mentioned a blogpost and he surprised me by saying that he and his wife had discussed kids collectibles only a couple of days before. He showed interest. He's known us for a while, but still - no pitying look, thank goodness.)

    It's only one person's opinion - that's what I say. Stay true to yourself!

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  7. Good-luck with your proses. I know you will do a great job. Luckily nobody asks me if I am published yet, because I just keep using the freelancer excuse. Few people know that I am actually a novel writer. It is great that you did not become deterred. It just shows that you are very comfortable with who you are and what you are doing and why you are doing it. That is what counts.

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  8. I'm doing things much the same way. I want the first two novels of my trilogy done before I attempt to get them published. I don't care if people give me weird looks. I know I'm doing what I need to do too.

    Stay the course!

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  9. Good job for standing your ground. Only you can decide when they are ready

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  10. Non-writers DON'T get it. Not one bit.
    They don't understand how many you need to write before you write THE ONE.
    They don't know why it takes so long to get the darn thing to print after you write THE ONE.

    And heaven forbid you self-publish a book and then it gets picked up by a traditional publisher, because they are VERY confused about why your second book is almost exactly the same as your first.

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  11. Good for you, and I totally agree with Alex and Karen. It's great that you didn't get deflated, I know sometimes that is easier said than done.

    Have a great weekend, Tonja!

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  12. Oh you'll hear all sorts of crap as you move on with all of this. We have to develop water and bullet proof skin. Good that you didn't let it get to you.

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  13. Atta girl! Stay the course and hold onto your faith, even if you've gotta hook onto it with your fingernails! Sometimes it's that grit that gives us the traction to make it through.
    Some Dark Romantic

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  14. Hang in there. Only you know what route is best for you...

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  15. Hi -- just found your blog via Caryn's and wanted to chime in along with the others. I agree completely with everything you wrote. Only we can know when our book-babies are ready to be set free in the world, and even though patience is a REALLY difficult virtue sometimes, I truly do believe it pays off in the end. Wishing you the best of luck!

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  16. Ugh. The Reply button isn't working ....

    DG - My guy was interested. He and my husband spent twenty minutes discussing the sci-fi stories they would write if they were writers. Awesome.

    Murees - I am comfortable. I've already had a successful career, so I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone. That makes it easier. If I were younger and just starting out, it would be harder for me.

    LG - I agree, let's stay the course. It won't be ready 'til it's ready.

    Heather - Thanks. :)

    Dianne - I agree. They don't need to get it, I guess. As long as we know what's reasonable and keep trudging along our path.

    Julie - Thanks.

    MPax - My last job toughened me up a bit. I once had an entire conference room full of accounting-types yell at me because they didn't see the genius (and it was) in the program I designed for them. My co-worker was nearly in tears.

    Mina - I got my claws out. :)

    Michelle - Thanks for the support.

    Work of Heart - Thanks for stopping by. I'm not sure I have luck (I've been waiting for anvils to fall on me - it's just a matter of time), but I am determined.

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