Decompression and Compression

Roller Coaster

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I’m on break from ROW80 and it’s nice NOT to have to write a certain number of words each day, NOT to have to post on my blog (though that particular goal was never all that tedious), NOT to have to participate in Flash Fiction (skipped it on Sunday), NOT to have to be editing and NOT to have to be writing a piece for a contest.

Tonight I write because I want to.  Tonight I’m Iris, working on Ellen’s story.  I’m crazy about this one, though I’ve also had some fun with my erotica alter ego’s anthology of late.  In fact, I’ve received such nice feedback over the past few days on my work under all three pen names, it’s a real boost to hopefully write more of the same.

Writing is a roller-coaster ride sometimes.  One day you’re Anne Tyler or Stephen King or Neil Gaiman and the next you’re…well, never mind, you can fill in your own hack.  Submitting to contests or publishers brings alternating waves of “what if’s” and “I’ll probably’s”.  What if they love it and accept it?  I’ll probably get a rejection.  Lather, rinse and repeat.

Even if they (a publisher, a contest judge, a critiquer) love it, the doubts still creep in.  Did I aim too low?  Do I really want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member?  Are my friends and family just humoring me?

Three of my writing circle members are in the throes of publishing debut novels with the same debut indie publisher.  They are hard at work editing and networking–joining online groups, spiffing up their blogs, Tweeting, Facebooking–to prepare for their releases.  I’m not sure I’m ready to inexorably ratchet up the big hill, to put myself out there as the proud creator of the best thing since sliced bread.  I don’t feel that way about any of my novels… yet.  I think they’re decent and show my promise, but I don’t think they’re publish-worthy, to be honest.  They might be one day, but today is not yet that day.

I could be depressed about this.  Tomorrow I might be.  Tonight, I’m not because I write for me and no one else.  I have no deadlines, no goals, no bank account to feather, nothing to prove.  There is a sort of free-falling giddiness in this.  I hope to one day look back at this post, after having sold my umteenth novel, and think, “ah, those were the days and I’m glad I realized it at the time.”  It’s a rare moment of seeing the world through a child’s eyes but with an adult’s sensibility, Peter Pan peering inside the Darling’s window.

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