It’s been almost three years since I’ve sold a manuscript. Thirty-two months, to be exact. These years have been rough, in various ways, but this isn’t a pity-party post. Rather, it’s about embracing the truth of your situation.
I’m a fighter by nature. I fight over little things and significant things, and I often win. Not because I’m petty, but because the things I fight for matter to me, and at least in my mind, are of importance.
Recently, though, both personally and professionally, I have lost numerous battles and the losses have left me wounded. I have had to take stock of so much of what I believed to be true and come to terms with how wrong I have been.
I know in this world today, with recent hurricanes and raging fires, that my struggle is insignificant. I have family and friends who love me, a roof over my head, and employment. That’s plenty. But I still feel what I feel, and have had to struggle to make heads or tails of my situation.
When it comes to writing, I’m down. I can’t explain why my manuscripts don’t sell, even when they come so close. I have no crystal ball about what the market wants, what readers need. I only know how to tell the stories I tell. They are not pretty. They are not always upbeat. They don’t always provide black and white scenarios in which readers can rally behind. I don’t believe anything in this world ever works that way. There is so much gray. I write about that gray, for good, for bad.
And yet, even though I’m down, I’m not out. I am happy to know the truth, to have been able to reconcile where I stand, to understand the lack of power I have, that the lost fight isn’t always because of my personal failure. I hold no more delusions. To some, that may seem like a loss of hope. That’s not even close to the case. My hope springs eternal, but it is tempered.
At signings, my signature line for Press Play is “Truth, whatever the cost.” I have always believed Greg would like that, and I think only now do I understand why.
So, as we belly up to our Thanksgiving tables, and as so many families do, we offer up what we are thankful for, know that mine is the truth. I’d rather know where I stand in this world, than to believe I am on some other footing. Of course, current truth isn’t always fixed, and this situation is certainly dynamic. But for now, what I have learned from these recent set of circumstances has provided a clarity I have never had before. As the saying goes, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward” (Law).
Well played, life; well played.
Enjoy your holidays, your time with family and friends, and whatever truths you embody, for the moment, or for a lifetime.