Denial ain’t just a river…

Being that I’m writing my blog post the day it’s due because of what I feel was a family emergency—though probably not an emergency in the greater scheme of things—the suggestion came to me to write my post about denial.

The family emergency is because I denied to consider the fact my child (a teenager) could have lice. That doesn’t happen to kids her age; that only happens to the little kids, and we’d made it through those years louse free. I didn’t know what they looked like, and when her head started itching, I took a cursory glance, didn’t see any creepy crawlies, and bought her scalp itch shampoo.

Well… Long story short; she had/has them. Instead of sitting down and writing my blog post, which was the plan for last night, I was at the drug store buying the louse shampoo, treating her head, then doing all that other stuff needed to make sure she and house is free of those nasty little things. I went to bed atmidnight(long after my normal bedtime) and was sure I was infested with them, even though hubby and I checked each other while joking about looking like a family of chimps.

Denial comes in many forms, and I’m a huge believer in it. *grin*

I have a rather lengthy list of health issues that I don’t deny exist, but perhaps deny the seriousness of them. I tend to listen to the doctor who tells me it’s not a huge deal, not the one who tells me it might kill me…eventually. See, everyone dies eventually, right? I’m getting better at listening to the doom’s day doctors now that I’m getting older and the health issues are actually affecting my day-to-day life. But if I’d listened sooner, and didn’t deny the fact that it’s serious, and got things taken care of earlier… You get the picture.

I could go on about things I let myself deny… Car repairs—that little puddle under the truck is just a little oil. Financial issues—I’ll pay that bill…next month. Weight loss—this one little extra helping won’t matter. The dishes in the sink will eventually wash themselves… Okay, maybe not that last one; I think that’s just wishful thinking.

Now, living in denial as a writer. I did this for years, and there’s so very many ways to live in the lovelylandofDenial! (Yes, this one with a capital D) This is one place I have emerged from, not unscathed, but a better writer and businesswoman for it. It’s a trap.

The first part is denying that you don’t know anything.

“If I finish this book, it’ll get published.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard unpublished authors say this. Yes! I will admit that it does happen; I’ve known an author or two who finished the book, mailed it off, and got a contract. I also know about 100 authors for every one this has happened to who have written a half dozen books, mailed them off, and not gotten the contract.

“I’m a good writer; why can’t the editors see this?”

They probably are good storytellers, but are they good writers? In my daytime job as an editor, I can tell you there’s a huge difference. An editor is not going to want to even read your great story if you can’t write well. Learn your craft. Learn the bare bones of where the commas go, and what a run-on sentence is! Don’t live in denial, believing that if you write the most amazing story ever, that it’s your editor’s job to fix the rest.

“I wouldn’t ever write for XXX publishing because they’re beneath me.”

All I can do with this statement is narrow my eyes and growl. When you are a budding author, nothing should be beneath you. Get your name out there. If you are the type of writer who can write short stories and get them into those romance magazines, DO IT! If you can write an article for your local newspaper and get it in, DO IT! If you can be an editor for your local writer’s group’s newsletter, DO IT! If you have submitted book after book to the publisher you really want, and everything has been rejected, try a small publisher.

Get the experience, and by doing that, you get to have something to put in your bio in a query letter to the editor of your dreams.

If you sit around and wait for your dream publisher to come knocking on your door… Well, good luck with that. I’m sure you’ll have lots of friends living next door in theLandofDenial.

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4 responses to “Denial ain’t just a river…

  1. Oh, I’m so there about the whole denial thing – I work hard on it. Both the denial and getting past it. Don’t know why, but the denial is sooooo much easier.

    Kate

  2. Raymond Bolton

    Denial is why it’s hard for me to begin the next manuscript. I do, but not when I should. Thankfully, gone are the days when it was Random House or nothing for me. And the rewarding part about putting one foot in front of the other, slogging it out 500 to 1,000 words at a time–hopefully more–is that each new effort exceeds the one preceding.

  3. Great post, Anna!

    I’ve been blessed both with a pretty grounded nature (ironic considering how well I imagine things 😀 ) and some good friends/mentors in the publishing industry who gave me the realities hard and fast and never let me forget them!

    I’m thankful for it. Denial really can interfere with your pursuit of your dreams. It confuses you into thinking the hard work isn’t worth it or other such nonsense and keeps you from doing what needs to be done.

    K

  4. You are so right, you have to move beyond the rejections, the loss of the “dream publisher” and face reality.
    Good writing only comes after writing. Lot’s of it. I’m working on my first published novel to put it into ebook format. I’m amazed at the corrections I’m making, that the editor missed! We learn by doing… and I’m so sorry about the lice.

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