A fellow writer in another forum posted recently that he was annoyed to not be getting anywhere with his opus. Best thing he’d written, he said, and no one appreciated it. He was hearing that it was too hard a sell. He stated, with fists raised to the sky (okay, I didn’t see that, but I suspect such was the case) that, as God was his witness (okay, he didn’t say that, but he might as well have) he Would. Not. Give. Up.
Hoo boy, I thought.
And then I thought I was being unfair. Because I believe in Not. Giving. Up. I might as well sell bumper stickers: 10 years. 1 million words. 100 rejections. Yes, it took me more of one and a little less of the others to get here, but if you round off to the nearest pain in the ass, it’s accurate enough.
I’m also a big believer in the power of arrogance. I think a slightly heftier than average dose of hard-nosed pride can stand in for a certain amount of skill and luck, at least in the beginning.
But I suppose I also need to acknowledge the value of surrender.
One of my favorite lines from Jacqueline Carey’s KUSHIEL’S DART is: Not all that yields is weak. The line is in reference to the heroine, a masochistic temple whore. But it applies nicely on sooo many levels — specifically ‘masochistic’ and ‘whore’ — to writers. Even the terminology of publishing sounds like a BDSM script: Submission. Acceptance. WIP (work in progress).
Maybe I don’t give enough honor to the retreat. Sometimes giving in isn’t giving up. It can be a rest, a reorganization, a revisioning, a reapplication.
After all, in order to properly beat your head against a wall, you have to sometimes pull back.