Monday, February 24, 2014

Owning Your Happiness: Getting A Grip on Extreme Emotions

"An emotional roller coaster" Cliche, yes? But isn't it also the most apt description of a writer's life? I sure think so.

Sometimes I find myself wondering why can't I just be normal?! Gah! 

Of course, I already know the answer. There is no such thing as normal. There's just me and you and every other person out there in the universe handling our ups and downs as best we can.

The thing is, I'm floored by how fast I can go from a *mostly* balanced human, to ecstatic OMG my words are AWESOME, to OMG I suck so, so, sooooo bad.

It can happen over the course of a week, a day, or even minutes. It can strike at any time - drafting, revising, querying and, though I haven't reached the next phase in my journey yet, I'm sure it continues through submissions, publication, reviews, writing that next book, and so on.

I call these extreme highs and lows writer's bipolar syndrome, and I think what it comes down to is letting outside influences define who I am as a writer. It's giving up control of my happiness (and my sanity) and putting that responsibility on someone else. And that's not fair. Not to me or anyone else. It's not anyone's job to convince me that I'm a good writer. It have to believe it. If I don't, why should anyone else?

I've *known* this for a long time, but knowing it and really believing it, aka putting it into practice, aren't the same.

If you're in the same boat as me, or if you ever find yourself rocketing from one extreme to the next, try to remember:

* Celebrate success without letting it go to your head.
* Understand that rejection is not personal. It is not a reflection of your ability as a writer.
* Do not let rejection diminish the successes you've had. One doesn't not cancel out the other.
* Enjoy YOUR journey. Everyone's path is unique. Don't compare yourself to anyone else.
* Believe in your talent. Don't try to be like, or write like, anyone else.
* Publishing is subjective. A compliment or a rejection does not change the value of your words.
* Confidence starts and ends with you. Take responsibility for it and know that you are the best you can be at this moment.

So basically, what I'm saying is this:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

And when you need your spirits lifted, watch this video of badassary.

And when you need a smile, I give you: The highs and lows of querying in Buffy .gifs

Waiting after you've sent off a batch of queries.

More waiting

Every time your email dings

When you get a form rejection

Getting support from your CPs

When your email dings after you've received several form rejections

Your first partial request. This is totally gonna be it!

Your CPs cheering you on.

The next time your email dings

Rejection on your partial

Email dings

Full Requst! Yeah!!  THIS time is it, for sure.

Email dings

Rejection on your full

Email dings. (you're starting to lose it now)

Request! (happy, and also a little bit crazy)

When your CPs pull you back from the edge


  1. This is so good! Thanks for posting! In writing, I go on emotional roller coaster rides all the time. I can't imagine what querying wiill be like!! Once I'm there, I'm going to come back to this page!! The video is amazing! And those Buffy gifs cracked me up!!

  2. Haha! Love it, Cheryl! Amazing how an email inbox goes from a place of promise to a place of TERROR. And then back again! :) Thank goodness for CPs during those highs and lows, 'cause every writer''s been there.

  3. OMG the second waiting and the rejection on the partial cracks me up. I love this post. :)