Guys, I'll admit something.
I'm in a funk and I'm not even querying!
Yeah, I'm still working hard, hammering out edits to the first fifteen pages of my WiP, getting ready for my self-made deadline of next Tuesday when I'll be sending it down to California (for the SCBWI summer conference). Thank you to everyone who has given me critiques and help. Your feedback has been invaluable.
Still, I'm discouraged.
I keep reminding myself I'll snap out of it. I know it's partly because I've been feeling sick for a couple weeks. It's also partly because the end of the school year is so busy.
I also know I can't let my mood be based on circumstances. My joy comes from a well-spring that's deeper than that. But on dark days sometimes I don't have the motivation to find the joy. I take a morbidic pleasure in letting myself be blue.
Good news is that, like I said, I'm WORKING through it. Because of the deadline, I'm not just sitting around feeling sorry for myself. Even though I don't feel like writing, I'm writing. I have a brand new ending for my WiP.
Plus, I keep wondering if this period of time is really a gift in disguise.
My protagonist's older sister struggles with depression in the first part of the novel I'm working on. Maybe I'm getting a tiny taste of what that's like so I can portray her better. Maybe I'll have a deeper, more powerful book because of this experience.
I'm not sharing all this to make people feel sorry for me. It's just an attempt at being real ... it's easy to keep up a blog and make people think every day is shiny and happy. We can come across as perfect parents, perfect spouses, perfect housekeepers, die-hard writers who never doubt themselves, and it can all be a mirage. Life isn't always that clean cut. Sometimes there are hardship and pain, mood swings and crabbiness -- it's part of our world's condition.
And doubt. Is this what I'm supposed to be doing with my life, with my time? It's definitely a good question to ask occasionally, to make sure all this time I'm spending on writing is a worthwhile investment.
Life, maybe even especially a writer's life, is one of ups and downs, with a healthy dose of rejection thrown in. We also tend to be pretty emotional people -- that's how we birth our characters, after all. All this makes writing an up-hill marathon with absolutely no guarantee of success.
Still, at the end of life, even if we can't measure our success as writers in published books and sales, will it be worth it? Will we look back and know with certainty we couldn't and wouldn't have done it any differently?
How do you handle the down times?