I think I was happier when I was just trying to write my memoir and blindly and naively believed the fact that I don't totally blow chunks as a writer would be enough to get it published before I'm dead, allowing my grand kids get to reap the benefits of my hard work. It was kind of nice, you know, to not be so caught up in The Process that my creativity was free enough to just chug along. No stress. No performance anxiety. No self-defeating thoughts stunting the very process I just got going not too long ago.
But I'm no idiot. I knew there was more to the game. If it was just "Writer writes book. Interested and enthusiastic agent falls into writer's lap. Interested and enthusiastic agent gets writer six-figure book deal. And they all lived happily ever after..." well, then, the process of getting published wouldn't have turned into its own little niche for those of us without a clue, now would it?
So why exactly am I freaking out? Because I'm only 10k into the memoir and already wondering if it is worth continuing. I'm confident in my writing, but scared shitless of the unknown beyond that. What if I only have what it takes to write, but not the rest of the know-how expected of today's authors? It's like a tree falling in the forest. Did it make a sound if no one else was there to hear it? (Read: If I spend ungodly amounts of time pouring my heart into this project and it never gets published, was it worth the effort?)
Maybe I should have just let myself believe in Santa for a little while longer before flipping the damned reality switch, but I've already gone and done it. In between loads of laundry, taking care of The Toddler, and trying to work out so I actually HAVE material about losing weight for my memoir, I added "research proposals, queries, agents, and publishing houses" to my list.
And that's when I pretty much fucked myself, right then and there.
There's just too much. There's not enough. And I don't know which way is up anymore.
In the past week alone, I have spent hours on Amazon searching through hundreds of titles about how to do this, that, and the other, with every one offering the promise knowledge I don't currently possess. Well, that's just fan-fucking-tastic. Because the six I ordered---on topics like writing exercises, how to write autobiographies, and how to feel inadequate because I don't already know how to do any of these things---are now sitting on my desk and I'm now out 60 bucks and wondering why the hell I'm bothering. (I haven't read them yet. But I'll let ya know when I do!)
I am a writer. Always have been. What I want is to be a published author. I'm just wishing I didn't need to find the Wizard and tap my ruby red slippers to figure out how to get from here to there.
What's my platform? How do I write a solid query? Whom do I query? What if my query sucks? And don't even get me started on the proposal! Just thinking about all of that is making me want to grab a pint of Ben & Jerry's and eat. Lots.
(Note to self: Make sure to chronicle mini binge for memoir should it actually occur. It might make for good reading.)
Here's a tip from me to you: Write your Great American Novel first before you piss on your own parade. Self-doubt and creativity do not a good pair make.