The Ugly Truth

The_serpent_entwines_itself_around_the_body_of_Eve;_it_whisp_Wellcome_V0034190As I write this, I am about 99% finished with revisions for CHERRY. Which means one of two things: either A) I’m nearly done, or B) I’m never going to finish. As of late, I’ve been opting for B, struggling to find just the right words to end my story. I’m seeking the perfect mix of . . . I don’t know. Pathos and Logos, with a touch of Ethos? Something to tip the scales from ‘good’ to ‘really good’ to ‘really fucking good’ to. . .

Point being, still no cigar.

Part of the difficulty is due to the pressure I’m putting on myself. I’ve said it before: I have to deliver the goods. Agent X offered that R&R at the tail end of last year and it’s now. . . yep. Take a look at the calendar, kk. The clock is ticking.

But that’s just part of the problem. There’s something else I’ve been grappling with, something distasteful and insidious; something I am loathe to admit to myself, let alone anybody else. Even now, I’m not sure I’m going to continue this post. For real, I’m hesitating, thinking I should write about something else, something light and airy that won’t tarnish others’ opinion of me, or me of myself. Truth is, I can’t recall reading another blog post by any other writer who publically, willingly admitted to feeling–

Hell with it.

It started a couple of weeks ago, as I was perusing AbsoluteWrite. Seemed like every other click of the mouse took me to another thread started by a fellow writer who couldn’t wait to share good news. Author X just got an agent and was thrilled beyond belief. Author Y just nailed another book deal. Author Z was swooning over another 5-star review on Amazon.

And there it was–an unpleasant twinge as foreign as it was disconcerting: resentment. I resented those happy writers, posting their happy news. Wtf, man? I couldn’t even finish my book.

My resentment quickly morphed into something even uglier: jealousy, which I immediately tried to squelch with logic: the fact that other writers were succeeding had absolutely nothing to do with my own perceived failures. Intellectually, I knew there was zero correlation between the two; ergo, it made zero sense to compare myself to my fellow writers, and even less sense to resent their own, hard-earned, good fortune. No matter. In my heart of hearts, I resented them. Big time. I even–

No, I’m not even going there right now. Some things are better left unsaid. But this I will say: to anybody reading this post, This isn’t me.

And yet, here I am. I don’t understand it. Where is this shit coming from? The unfamiliar bubble of bile that rose in my throat two weeks ago came out of nowhere, and now it’s lodged there and I can’t seem to swallow it down. I don’t like this feeling at all; don’t like this side of myself. Worse yet, it’s settling on me, becoming way too familiar. Is this what I’m going to be now: the bitter, unpublished writer who laments her failures and begrudges others their successes? I want to deny those ugly thoughts but they keep whispering back to me, turning my heart brittle. Even as I turn my head to listen.


4 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth

  1. Think less of you? Nah.

    I won’t say we all fight that dragon but….well….don’t we?

    Every time I’ve got a shitty paperback in my hand, meaning both quality of printing and quality of writing therein, I’m angry. I’m jealous. It’s sour grapes I’m sure. I try to smile, try to say “Well, books like these give me hope. If they could get published, I can.” Is it true? We are blind to our own selves.

    One reason I haven’t blogged much lately is I’m in that horse-latitude of ennui. I’m going to start subbing. Still waiting for my most trusted reader. Sigh. But I kind of don’t care. I’m buried in the possibilities right now, the cycle of subs and requests (I hope) and rejections (going to assume), getting the trickle of R’s from my short story subs.

    A glimmer of hope in this is one my friends just read The Last Song and immediately asked me what else I had that he could read. And another friend is reading Learn to Howl, slowly, so slowly, and loving that.

    So I need to start writing again soon. And blogging. But this feeling you’ve reached? I think it’s part of the package.


    • I hear what you’re saying, Jen. The ‘book in hand’ bit, I get that. Crap books get published, that’s a given. How a writer spins that into a positive or a negative depends on that writer’s perspective.

      Right now, I think mine’s more than a little askew.

      As for your stuff, though–it sounds promising. I see more than a glimmer there. When people read your work and savor it, or ask for more, that’s a good thing, a positive thing. Something to spur you on again, maybe, or hold onto, especially on those darker days when hope starts sagging and jealousy rears its ugly head.

      Admitting my jealousy makes me feel embarrassed and petty, especially in light of the wonderful support I’ve been given here, over at aye-dub, etc. I feel kind of like a traitor to the cause. I don’t like that part of the package. As far as I can see, jealousy serves no purpose, save making a person feel bad. I don’t think any writer needs that. What we need is to stop focusing on what others have achieved and redirect our attention to our own efforts, to the things we can control: getting our own novels written, getting them out there. . .you know, the good stuff.

      Okay, I’ve blathered long enough. Thank you for your comments, Jen. As always, they are much appreciated.

      xoxo kk


  2. Not going to touch your revisions process, you have to go with what feels right to you. 🙂 As for the rest…what?! I’m shocked and appalled, you’re, you’re human!! This doesn’t mean you wish evil on anyone else, it means you’ve worked hard, continue working hard, yet this is a business that sometimes doesn’t seem to make any damned sense, regardless of how much you research or work on your craft. Feel what you’re feeling, it’s ok to acknowledge–and then move forward. ❤ ❤


    • If I finished my revisions today and loved how I reworked my last page, my final paragraph, I’d be a happy camper right now and this blog post wouldn’t exist. And if an agent called me today and offered representation, I wouldn’t feel a smidgeon of jealousy or resentment toward anybody, not one iota. Au contraire, I’d be on Cloud 9, sipping champagne and farting pixie dust.


      Which proves to me what I already know: that when good feelings hinge on extrinsic stuff–the stuff beyond our control–we run the risk of being disappointed. And when we compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up for an even bigger fall. But you’re right, mrs fringe: it’s human nature to serve ourselves up a double-dip of ‘Hey, let’s feel worse than we already do, shall we?’ every once in a while.

      It’s okay to do that, as long as we don’t tarry too long. We need to move on, step out of that shadow. Maybe I had to write this post in order to do that; publically acknowledge what was going on, drag it into the light so it couldn’t fester, lingering in those dark places writers sometimes go. Life’s too short and the clock is ticking, regardless.

      Thank you for reminding me, and thank you for the ❤ ❤ , mrs fringe.

      xoxo kk


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