Day 20: When Do You Give Up?

I’ve been having a tough time keeping up with my one submission per day and, quite frankly, not doing this perfectly makes me want to give up. It’s an easy excuse—this giving up because I’m not doing it “perfectly”—and one that I think I shall I ignore as though it’s a cranky little kid who needs to get her ass into bed for nap time.

To be fair, my freelance writing and editing business has been thriving lately, and I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work. Apparently clients keep thinking I’m more than capable at taking on multiple and/or new tasks, and I keep forgetting to say no. I’ve been blessed to be able to learn new skills on their dime and clock (like using Screenflow to edit audio interviews which I also turn into compelling written versions for the blog). Good thing I don't have to show up at an office. I think my constant tears and fetal position under the desk would be disconcerting for my office mates.

Anyway, it makes sense, of course, that I put my paid work ahead of my unpaid work. But lest I forget just how essential my creative writing is to my soul, a looming mental breakdown hovers on the horizon, just waiting for me to give up on this 30 submissions in 30 days challenge. Over the years several people have asked me when I was going to give up on trying to publish my fiction (or give up on my "little hobby"). I always tell them: when I die. Because the irony is, if I give up on my dream, I will die anyway. Not physically, perhaps, but certainly my spirit will. If you think I’m being dramatic, you clearly don’t know what it is to be an artist. Or a human being.

I’ve sacrificed sleep, exercise or social outings on a few occasions this last week, but I’m almost caught up on my submissions. For those of you keeping score or with nothing else to do up there in minimum security, here is a quick list of my most recent ones:  

Day 14 I sent a short story called My Private Sanctuary—about a woman who learns that she is dying on the same day that her husband requests a divorce and it is only then that she is finally able to open up to him—to literary magazine AGNI Online.

Day 15 I sent two short stories—Like Someone In Love (flash fiction about a woman who tries to find dirt on the guy she couldn’t care less about to prove that her decision not to fall in love with him is sound) and Misconceptions (about three separate guys’ wildly differing perceptions of the same woman at a bar)—to literary magazine The Apple Valley Review

Day 16-19 I climbed into bed and slept for a week. Ok, that's not true, but I sure as hell fantasized about it. It’s surprisingly (or maybe not) tiring to submit something every day. A part of me just wants to quit because it would be easier, but another part of me is saying, “Easier than what?”

Which is a long way of saying: I didn’t submit anything on these four days. Mothercrapper.

Day 20 I was on fire! Sent my short story Yoga In Yakima to Blue Moon Literary Magazine and my story Therapeutic Madness to Crab Creek Review (and no, that's not a magazine about 5-legged crustaceans).

Yoga in Yakima is about a woman who finally realizes that no amount of casual sex, inebriation or tarot readings can fill the emptiness in her life on the road trip back to her hometown to blame her dysfunctional parents for her lack of success. (Which, by the way, I turned into a novel because I had much more than 4,500 words to say about this!)

Therapeutic Madness is about a woman who quietly slides into a spiritual meltdown, which I illustrate with ever-changing grammatical perspectives (i.e. first person, second person, third person).

By the way, I'm including a one-sentence summary of each story or novel to practice succinctly summing up these things—one of the hardest things to do for a writer. Or so I’m told.

And last, but not least, I submitted my novel The 6-Month Solution, about a woman who is court-ordered to not date for six months, to two different literary agents: Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary Agency and Sharon Pelletier at Dystel & Goderick Literary Management.

Time for a glass of port and bed. Not necessarily in that order.