Something Emily said in the comments on the happiness post yesterday reminded me of something I’ve always believed in but had forgotten: If you’re not failing now and then, you’re not trying hard enough. It had been awhile since I’d failed, but then it had been awhile since I’d tried going outside my own head. I’d been writing for ten years, I just hadn’t finished anything. No chance of failure there. I never got near the mountain top.
I should be clear, I don’t think of Nita as a failure as a book, but there’s no denying I failed to get it published with an editor I have a contract with. And that was surprising, but when I thought about it, not that surprising. I had even warned Mollie there was a chance Jen would turn it down because it was just too weird. And of course, the sensible thing to do in the future would be to not write weird, to stop trying so hard.
There are a couple of problems with that, though, the first one being, I’ve always written weird. I’ve had several authors tell me they started to write romance after reading my Harlequins because they realized they could write stories that could have older heroines with smart mouths who didn’t want a baby. I don’t think I’d have had the career I did if I hadn’t tried too hard and written weird. So trying to write to market would be counterintuitive for me.
The bigger problem is that I like writing weird. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s where the creative juice is for me right now. I completely understand if nobody wants to buy my weird, marketing is crucial and publishers need to make money to stay in business. But I’m going to write what I want to write.
And then there’s the whole health thing. I don’t know whether I’m going to die in twenty years or twenty minutes, and that’s very liberating. (Who knew a dicey heart could set you free?). If I’ve only got twenty minutes left, I’m writing about mechanical bats in an alternate timeline, not about some chick going back to her home town to open a bakery.
(Apologies to everyone who has written wonderful books about going back to a hometown to open a bakery, especially since the book I’m going to be finishing in the next couple of months is about a thirty-something who gets trapped in her home town with somebody trying to kill her.).
Picture me as the penguin in the center of the flock singing, “I GOTTA BE ME!”
And no worries about Nita; if it doesn’t go anywhere in traditional publishing, we’ll self-publish (Mollie can do anything).
Because we’re trying hard enough.