Maybe It’s Not Magic, After All
I am currently sitting on more potentially publishable material than any one person has a right to.
I’ve been writing humor pieces for 15 years, and while many have been published in newspapers and magazines, tons more have only ever seen the light of blog. I’ve got solid ideas for a dozen novels, have a good start on four or so, but have completed only one. In addition, I’ve got some terrific plans for creative non-fiction books, at least ten titles that I can remember off the top of my head.
So what’s my problem, you ask? Why don’t I get my rear in gear and get my act together?
That’s easy. My problem is that I’ve believed in magic.
It hasn’t always been like this. There was a time when a friend dared me to snail mail (our only option back then, before email had even entered our imaginations) articles out to publishers and issued an ultimatum that we wouldn’t meet up socially again until I’d overcome this hurdle. In one month’s time, I sent out three finished pieces (unsolicited) and all three were purchased and subsequently published.
I apparently respond well to ultimatums. My friend was shocked that I’d had such a simple time placing my articles, and happy she’d had a hand in prompting me to risk the rejections and reap the reward.
I’ve experienced my share of rejections since then, don’t get me wrong. But not so many that I didn’t also have regular sales, the number of which was sufficient to keep me motivated and confident that I was on the right path.
Somewhere along the line, though, things took a bad turn in my psyche. It didn’t help that my entire life got so waylaid with eldercare issues, for such an extended period of time (ten years running now), that I became physically ill myself. I put my entire life on hold, not because I wanted to, but because I did not have the spiritual, emotional, or physical reserves to do The Moms’ lives and mine, too.
Duty called. I answered. And I started believing the lie that only people who had Magically Delicious Lives got published—-and clearly my life was and is anything but a box of Lucky Charms.
But now I wonder how I could have been so deceived. I know amazing writers who’ve not abandoned ship even when they’ve contracted cancer and had to go through chemo. I know writers whose adult or teenaged children give them constant fits, but they continue to lead productive creative lives, and others with multiple school-aged kids who manage all their many activities and still meet deadlines.
And yes, I now know writers who deal with caring for their elders without completely sacrificing their own ambitions and callings. It can be done. It’s done every day, by countless dedicated artists who are served quite well by their disbelief in magic.
These inspiring authors are making it happen in spite of their circumstances, in spite of the cards they’ve been dealt, in spite of the incredible odds against them.
So today, I’m committing to ditching my misplaced belief in magic. I’m going to do what it takes to put one word after another, to follow one sentence with the next, and to put together viable book proposals based on the wonderful ideas I’ve been sitting on for far too long.
But even though I’m deliberately demystifying the process of writing and getting my materials out there for consideration, there’s one kind of magic I’ll never give up—the kind that happens when a reader connects with the written word and is changed by it, touched by it, made more alive than she ever was before the encounter.
That’s the only magic I still hope to make happen.
Posted by Katy on 01/11/11 at 07:24 PMFallible Comments...
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