I feel like I am hovering in the in between.
As I slowly unravel my past and write more about Thailand, I find myself caught in some dream world between past and present, between my old self and my new one, looking for the true me that might be some amalgam of both.
I wrote a book, sent it to two agents and a small publisher, heard nothing, and stopped. I just stopped. I haven’t quit. I’ve haven’t given up. I’ve got a Pinterest board of small publishers that I can send my book to. Eventually I will get around to printing out the manuscript and sending it to them. I just need to step away for a while. There is the struggle of finding a publisher, and then there is the struggle of always attempting to make it out on top.
Sometimes you need to forget about on top. Sometimes you need to explore the underbelly of the mountain, the deep dark caves that can teach you much about life in the midst of failure and shadows.
For now, I’ve turned back to writing a bit of poetry. I’m working on a couple of essays. And I’m trying my hand at fiction again. I’ve rebooted my memo board and it is fresh with new quotes. Last night I cleaned off my writing desk. I hauled a bunch of books upstairs and replaced them with a few slim volumes of poems (including Rilke, of course). I put my stack of beta-read and marked up manuscripts away. I don’t know where exactly my writing is taking me. Simply put, I’m in the in between.
This blog has turned into a faith blog, but maybe I’ve grown tired of all my tossing and tumbling with faith. I’ll write about faith if I feel like it, I will. Yet maybe I’ve written enough, and it’s time to be silent. Or to wait until new words come to me.
I want to write more about books, and about writing, and about simple interactions with people, and about my past. I want to find new words, and new stories, and new meaning.
Today I changed my bio and my tagline. I’m not sure if I like them. I may change them again in a few days. What remains true, though, is that one line in my bio: I am simply metamorphing.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful metamorphing with us! The process probably doesn’t feel beautiful on the inside, but to the outside it sheds a lot of light!
You are, as always, such an encouragement and light to me, Claire. Thank you for your kind words.
Karissa, I hear you. I struggle with my blog and my message daily. Advice re: agents and publishers, I sent out probably more than 20+ emails before getting a response from an agent (I sent an email to her three times before getting a response..which is a total no-no in the books). Now I’m not even sure I can follow through because my blog isn’t really gaining traction though I’ve published a few places (i.e. the nefarious “platform-building” that can kill your soul…) I’m disillusioned, too. Keep writing. You are a great writer. We should talk about this sometime. The only reason I say any of this is because I seriously struggle with doubt everyday about my writing. I feel sometimes like I’m writing to no one. Ugh. So hard. It really really is hard.
Yeah, I need to send more out. I had my top two picks of agents and that’s the only people I’ve sent to so far. I guess I’ve been afraid to email again. I also am just sort of tired of that old conversion story . . . it’s more about what happened to me 8 or 9 years ago than what’s happening now. Although I think that’s good in a way, because with memoir it can be good to have some time between the events and the writing of them.
But the platform building it’s what’s killing me. I have done everything they say to do – read and commented on other blogs and sites, built a network online, published in a variety of places, and I feel like my blog is getting LESS popular (not that it was very popular to start with). I’ve been trying for two years now to break into the “online Christian” platform/publishing world, and while I’ve had a few small successes, I really haven’t been able to make a name for myself. (I thought about putting all this in a blog post, but was afraid it would sound whiny.)
So I guess that is a big reason why I’m turning back more to the literary world and to traditional literary mags/journals now. Because I’m so, so tired of trying to make it in the midst of all the other spiritual bloggers. I can’t. And I’m kind of tired of writing about faith, anyway. So we’ll see what happens. Like I said, I just can’t keep worrying about coming out on top right now.
Thanks for your encouraging words! I am always so excited to see your publications! You seem to have published articles in a good variety of places!! You are pretty amazing.
Karissa, I’ve spent this whole month hiding from writing. Besides the guest post for you, I wrote nothing. I read and read and read, but I just couldn’t write. I’m just feeling so tired of it all. And I haven’t even been at it (seriously) for a long time.
I struggle so much with jealousy of other bloggers who I pridefully consider to be inferior writers or just unoriginal voices, but who attract thousands and thousands of followers. It feels so unfair. (Maybe I can write a blog post about that).
I recently found out that my Relevant article got 1.6 million hits. That boggles the mind. And yet…my blog has 188 followers. And I have 99 on Twitter (though admittedly, I suck at Twitter). I was working on a book proposal this week and when I got to the part about my “qualifications,” “credentials,” and “past publications” I just had to quit. Because the numbers say that no one is really interested in reading anything I write.
I also have felt lately that sometimes I want to write about other things – I want to do a review on these awesome Korean lip balms I just discovered. And I want to tell funny stories from my classroom. I want to share my favorite recipes and I want to write about books. But apparently, that’s not “building a brand.” Sigh.
I guess the bottom line for me is that even when I need a break (a long break) and even when I want to quit, I can’t quite do it. Because the writing is also something I do for myself. It makes me wrestle and process and tease out what I’m thinking and feeling. It’s valuable to my spiritual and mental health. But I don’t think I would put in the work required if I didn’t have the blog. If it ever gets to the point where it’s no longer serves that personal purpose, I’ll probably quit. It’s far too hard to do if you’re doing it for someone else.
Anyway, that’s a rambling comment to say that I understand and I think it’s AMAZING that you’ve actually written the book –I can’t quite wrap my mind around actually doing that. I love your writing and your insights and your wrestling and I think you should stick with it, but only if it’s good for your soul.
Something else for us to talk about on that Skype call!
I have thought that my writing was as good as or better than popular bloggers’ many times!! I don’t call it pride. I am over all those old messages about having to to humble all the time. I have an mfa and we analyzed lots of writing. I also read a ton. I believe that I can recognize good writing vs mediocre writing. I am I’m no way saying my writing is perfect or best. I often get asked to revise essays I’ve submitted for publication. It’s a hit to the ego, but it’s also a sign that there is still room for growth. Yet I do believe that my writing is comparable to that of many popular Christian writers out there! But I just can’t get ahead in the rat race and I don’t know why. I hate platform. I get it, but I hate it. I would say write about what you want to write about. I’d love to hear about Korean lip gloss! And if it makes you feel better, I think my blog only has 110 followers. To me, your Relevant article is a huge credential. Really. I have nothing even comparable to that. I will say that blogging regularly has helped me become a better writer. I really believe that. But I would also like to look at blogging versus writing. Are they one and the same? For some people, they are. Should they be one and the same? Should audience always be in the forefront of our writer’s mind, or should we be focusing more on craft? Lots to think about.