Licking wounds that won’t heal is called being a writer

For over a year now, I’ve licked wounds that refuse to heal. I’m a failure. My books, despite kind reviews from friends and colleagues, didn’t sell well and so my publisher went out of business.

Okay, perhaps it wasn’t totally my fault.

Many Booktrope writers immediately republished after being kicked to the curb. But I thought it was a good opportunity to address the confusion some readers had over the ending of my great masterpiece, Flipka. My plan was re-introduce sections the original editor suggested I remove. They were my precious little babies, so beautifully written and funny and close to my heart. But she killed them.

Well, y’all can probably guess the folly of that sort of thinking.  Yes, according to not one but two editors, reintroducing those sections resulted in an even smeller pile of dog shit. Total and complete manure, not worthy of dirtying your boots on.

Those of you who are writers, I can feel you cringing in sympathy and I thank you for it.

Anyway, it would have felt good to quit. Stamped the whole effort with a Failure, get over it label and burnt all copies of Flipka past and present in the fireplace.  I could have invited all of my friends over for KFC (who am I kidding, I don’t have any friends) to witness the celebration of my failure and they could have said things to me like “I could write a great story” or “Why did you ever want to be a writer in the first place?” and fed greasy chicken bones to the insatiable flames of failure. Probably a few of my imaginary friends would not have survived that particular party.

But I’m haunted by the characters I created. I can’t leave them in a simmering pot of pooh, now can I?  So back I go to writing. I may return now and then if I have something I think worthy of your time to read but otherwise, it’s back to the agonies for me.

I do plan to keep up with those bloggers who have been so supportive of me.  Thanks, thanks and thanks again.

36 thoughts on “Licking wounds that won’t heal is called being a writer

  1. Ooo! Maybe that’s why I haven’t written anything yet. You turn captive to (of?) your characters. I only write about what really happened so that there are no surprises. What a chicken, straight for the KFC!

    But seriously, do not listen to anybody but yourself. And THEM, of course. I wish you joy because that’s what matters.

    1. As much as I complain, I wouldn’t write if I didn’t enjoy the process. Hearing that you need to do a lot more work when you think you’re finished is a blow to the gut but it wasn’t a huge surprise. It just comes with the territory and if you believe in your characters, you’ll survive and be stronger for it..

  2. Go get ‘em, Tiger! There’s nothing like failure to light a fire under our butt’s and give us incentive to dig deeper in learning the craft of fiction. There are a lot of tools and techniques to master. Personally, I would be surprised if I ever feel like I’ve written a masterpiece. In a way I feel blessed by that! I have very low expectations. Ha! But I’m very passionate about the act of writing!
    Good luck with the rewrite!

      1. Me too! I’m just finishing a first draft. Three weeks ago, I would wake up in a cold sweat worrying about all the crazy loose ends. The last five nights, I woke up with ideas to weave them together. I should finish today and stop waking up!

  3. I admire your determination and willingness to continue the fight for your characters. It’s not about failure, it about picking ourselves back up and continuing on that counts. Best wishes as your characters come alive!

  4. Jan, old Sam Beckett wrote something along these lines: Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. And he did fail better. By God he did. He was shit but he LOOKED the part. (Don’t believe what you read about Waiting For Godot. That play is actually Beckett’s excrement that he redigested and then shat out again).You gotta LOOK the part Jan. Like having a lived-in face. Or even better, having a face that’s been squatted in by the cream of the Don’s administration. At the moment I’m getting botox to try and do something about my good looks. “You’ll never succeed you beautiful man,” said the nurse who was 18 but looked about 70 (she gets her botox free). She then took me into an anteroom and worked on me. And now I’ve deteriorated so much that I look like George Clooney. Jan, you’re nearly as beautiful as I am so if you really want to succeed either roll around in a ploughed field like old Sam did or go for botox.

  5. Thank you Colm. Old Sam was right – you’re probably going to fail anyway so why not do it brilliantly! I don’t like needles so I guess it’s the plough fields for me. Maybe I’ll end up looking Angelina Jolie, or should I be going for the Keith Richards look? As usual, you always make me smile…

  6. I don’t think that I knew you wrote a book, so congrats. On the flip side, just because the first go round with your book and publishing house didn’t work out as you planned, doesn’t mean a second attempt won’t be a success. It took me a few different blogs to get to a point where I felt like I knew what I was doing [most days]. It must be the same process when writing a book, I’d think.

  7. Thanks Ally. With blogging it’s hard to keep on providing fresh and entertaining material but at least, if you’re lucky, you get feedback. With writing you don’t have the feedback from your followers and so often it feels like you’re groping around in a dark abyss. A part of me would much rather be blogging but I’m at a now or never point.

  8. Flipka IS your masterpiece and you should be proud of creating it and getting it into print. We know we’re not going to make a living writing, right? I derive satisfaction from those teeny Amazon checks that come in sporadically.

  9. It’s so difficult to make any money writing, isn’t it? I spent three years writing lots of novellas and had one fantastic year out of them, then I ran out of steam and can’t for the life of me reproduce that spurt of creativity. It’s still there, but I have to squeeze it out of myself these days. I guess writing goes like that. I think now that I’m past the new writer euphoria I’ll have to be a lot more disciplined and make myself sit in front of my laptop, whether I feel like writing or not and just get on with it and not let what’s happening in my life distract me. Editing is another story…………………………..

      1. The fact that you wrote a complete book in the first place is some achievement, Jan, you should be proud of that. To write more than one is way beyond many aspiring writers dream.

  10. Omg! I am apologizing right off the bat! You have been posting and I have not checked on you.
    Okay, kick me to the curb! 👢👞👟
    Jan, I get attached to my blog posts so I can imagine the immense time, caring, and work involved in writing a book!
    You can try again. I believe in you. I would not have burned all my copies either. . .

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