At least I have non-fiction.

At times, I feel like a fraud. I’m sure many writers go through this phase often enough. We work our asses off to craft our stories, perfecting our craft, but we struggle to get noticed. It’s rejection after rejection, with no real reason why.

Sometimes, the ones who surround us will flaunt their successes. You look at them and question everything that you know. They’re pumping out the stories, yet, you struggle to get just the one finished. And they get contract after contract, but you have yet to work up the nerve to even begin the query process for the second time.

Yep, self doubt is a constant state for many writers, and this writer is not exempt.

There will be days when I look at the social media feeds and sigh. So many new books (books that I will never read because there are only so many hours in the day), and I dream of what it would be like to have my book scrolling across the screen. I imagine what it would be like to be able to scream out about some publication deal, or signing with an agent. Meanwhile, I wait patiently for the opportunity to crack open that bottle of champagne that is waiting in the cupboard for me.

It’s frustrating to know that I have the skills to write a story that can make people cry and want to know more about the world. But it’s double frustrating to be informed that it won’t be published by the latest magazine.

For the longer works, they sit in the drawer, waiting for the day when I can lose the debut writer stigma, proving that I can write a tight, engaging story. Meanwhile, there are some that I know who flaunt the latest book deal in front of my face, telling me that I just need to learn to write faster.

(I’ll just sit here for a moment while I quietly fume. Faster doesn’t not mean better.)

Knowing how to structure a story and bring the characters to life is something that I’m bloody good at. I know this. Too many people have read through my short stories and my novels and have all said the same thing. The gasped when so-and-so died, crying, but refusing to put the pages down, hoping for an answer. The action had their hearts pumping and cheering when the good guy wins. And the emotional roller coaster was one wild ride. The stories are engaging on every level.

And it’s not family and friends who tell me this. In fact, none of my family or friends have even read my latest works. (I’ve given up on trying to get their thoughts and opinions long ago. Don’t bother to ask why. You won’t like the answers.)

Yet, my fiction continues to be overlooked, or sits in a drawer waiting for the day when 134,000 words doesn’t seem unreasonable for a person with my skill.

Nope. I continue to write, only diving deeper into self doubt, because there is currently no other way forward.

But I do have my non-fiction. The academic papers that summaries years of research. The blog posts that share my knowledge (and feelings) with the world. And a book…

Yep, I have a published book. Non-fiction. About social media and the hidden traps that await writers. It is a win, and hopefully something that I can use to help build my reputation on, but it’s not fiction.

It’s not my heart. It’s not my soul. It’s just knowledge.

I suppose as writers, we have to look for the wins where we can get them.

I might not have any traditionally published fiction (yet), but at least I have non-fiction.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017

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