Being my Own Best Cheerleader is Tiring Business

Rooting for myself gets tiring after awhile, you know what I mean? Thinking positive, buoying myself up, disciplining my thoughts (or trying). I read others’ blogs and am happy for their new publishing contracts, only to have that feeling become tinged with a little…envy? melancholy? self-pity? Something annoying, let’s put it that way.

I don’t know what I’m going to do if my agent comes back to me all tapped out of editors. She’s been shopping my manuscript around for awhile and has received many positive rejections (so oxymoronic, but there you go)…What will I do?

I know what I’ll do: I’ll grieve, hope that my agent will want to represent my next novel, and return to the tiring task of being my own best cheerleader once again.

It’s frustrating to have finally figured out what I’m supposed to be doing in this life of mine, yet unable to wholeheartedly DO IT. Sometimes it feels arbitrary, who lands contracts, who doesn’t. Sometimes I feel like there’s something more I should be doing, only I can’t quite figure out what, except to keep setting down sentences, one after another.

That said, I wrote six pages today, a good writing day, and a gang of us are going to see a friend’s play tonight. I’m sure I’ll drink a glass (or two?) of red wine afterwards.

Anyone got any bright ideas on what else I can do to help my cause (besides going into therapy)?

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17 thoughts on “Being my Own Best Cheerleader is Tiring Business

  1. The best I have is trite and sappy: Surround yourself with people who love you and are more than willing to cheer on the cheerleader. We can’t sway the editors, publishers, agents of the world but we can carry you on our shoulders such that you can be heard more easily. Plus, I promise to be surreptitious and sneaky while looking up your skirt.

  2. I have some of these very same thoughts (this week, in moments between the day job, they’ve been coming down on me more than usual, is it an epidemic, like bad tomatoes?)… All I can say is keep doing just what you’re doing. Six pages is a great day! You seem like a phenomenal cheerleader for yourself… maybe you should coach others?

  3. You are doing all the right things, keeping it in perspective (a lot of times it IS arbitrary), drinking a glass of red wine or two, and especially focusing on your writing. Most of the authors I know, including me, have been through exactly what you’re experiencing now.

  4. Thanks so much for responding! A few red wines in my system as I read these — I’m actually getting teary. (Red wine renders me maudlin.)

    Lane: You sweetie. I just wish I found it easier to lean on people, especially my friends here in Portland. Might make the path easier at times…

    Nova and Patry: It’s nice to know that other writers get tired and down like I do, or have been through the same emotional rollercoaster. Somehow just knowing that helps. Thanks!

  5. Sweet Lisa:
    It’s the journey, not the destination. Publication is only a rest stop on the journey, anyway. It might seem like a goal, but it isn’t. Writing fiction is a lifelong journey of self-discovery.
    Love, Liz.

  6. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for reminding me of this, and I can see how it’s true, but it doesn’t FEEL true. Maybe I’m not so wise, but I would love to know people are reading my fiction!

    Hope you’re well! Looking forward to seeing you (and the rest of the gang) in Cannon Beach!

    xo, Lisa

  7. Lisa, when my first novel was out on submission and getting rejections, another writer said to me, “Don’t worry. I have a friend whose first novel didn’t sell and then the second one did.” My reaction was “Are you F&%^#$^G kidding me? THAT is supposed to make me feel better?” I still pretty much feel that way! Haha! And my novel did not sell, but it only went out to a few editors and then I changed agents (for different reasons) and we decided to start with a different book. I still have hope for the first one!

    I’m with you totally. I have days like that and honestly, people cheering me on doesn’t really help at all. What helps is remembering that it’s ebb and it’s flow. If I felt like that all the time, then I know I’d quit, but I know that it will pass and I’ll feel excited again. Also, there are many, many editors.

    I think what frustrates me the most is when I read a badly written book. I just feel totally burned…like here is this horrible book that was published and mine was not! But you know, I get over that too.

    I repeat my mantra when nothing else will help:
    All shall be well
    And all shall be well
    And all manner of things shall be well

    And then I do something that doesn’t have anything to do with writing! Good luck!

  8. Thanks so much, Joelle!

    I hear you on feeling the burn when reading a badly written book. I’ve “bitched” (politely) about this to Adina, noting that my novel is better than at least some of the stuff out there. It, too, deserves to be published. I wonder how many times she’s heard that from her clients! Hah!

    I like your mantra. That’s a good one.

  9. We could list the many books that went through/past many editors before publication: the Wizard of Oz, Ulysses, etc. And if that didn’t make you feel better knowing that sooner or later it will hit, stay excited about your present work, just like you are. It’s kind of like pretending that you don’t care about the book that’s out there being shopped because you are on another work and then another and then another…and then…they all begin to hit.
    Oh yeah, I’m an optimist, but it’s true. Keep going!

  10. Oh,

    You’re absolutely right about the rejection woes of many a published writer…It’s universal! I’m not different than the rest, which is actually reassuring. Thanks! Lisa

  11. While there are always people who get a “lucky break” right away, I think the vast majority of artists (writers, musicians, etc.) work long and hard for their big break and pay a lot of dues along the way. To the people that didn’t know them all those years before the big break they appear to have sprung out of nowhere.

    This is a test, a test of persistence and patience. When things do finally break for you we’ll all say “Lisa earned this through years of hard work. She’s paid her dues…”

  12. Jiiiimbo,

    What you say it so true, and thanks for reminding me. A voice of reason inside my unreasonable head!

    Sigh…

    Hopefully, I’ll see you soon…(a play?), Lisa

  13. Jim’s comment reminds me of a writer who was interviewed about his first novel and how he was an OVERNIGHT success because it was his FIRST and it ended up on the NYT Bestseller’s list. He said something along the lines of, “It looks like overnight success to everyone else, but I’ve got thirteen unpublished novels in my bottom desk drawer.”

  14. Lisa,
    Nice to meet you and Luna today! The quiet companionship of critters brings us into the present.

    It seems you do have other “cheerleaders” so accept the support! Do you know how to call your muse and draw strength from that aspect of yourself?

    Didn’t you hire an agent to find a publisher and to allow you the freedom to commit your energy to continuing development of your own style and distinctive voice? Lisa, you have the more difficult task and as an artist you really don’t have much of a choice — embrace & trust your instincts.

  15. Kathryn, you found my blog! Thanks for visiting and commenting. Lovely to meet you this morning also.

    Most of the time, I’m pretty good at drawing strength from myself, but sometimes (as in the moment I wrote this post) my inner-sunniness clouds over. Goes with the territory to some extent, for me at least.

    I’m learning to trust my instincts, that’s for sure. As a painter, you know how dangerous second-guessing oneself can be! It’s a continual learning process…

  16. “It’s a continual learning process…”

    Yes it is!

    Hey, who says you always have to be sunny? That might be an energy you can use, too. . . it’s a natural aspect of our nature, no?

    In a linear gesture, literally, I use a different medium when I’m “stuck” (wood carving). I imagine there are many ways to approach those cloudy days and blocks. It is a genuine creative challenge.

    Be well!

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