It's like a variant of the old saw:
Just because you're neurotic doesn't mean there's nothing to obsess over.
But I'm tired of that stereotype that writers are fragile, emotional, scattered, or obsessed. We are not neurotic. We are strong and brave and resilient.
You have to brave to write down your thoughts and share them with others. You have to be brave to ask for and accept criticism, and strong to make your writing better. You have to be strong and persistent to actually finish a novel or story, then polish it to the best of your ability.
You sure have to be brave to query a novel.
You have to be resilient to take rejections, and for many us, begin another novel after rejection and start the process again.
When you get an agent after one book or a dozen, you have to be strong to go on submission -- so close, but often still not close enough.
When your first or twentieth book is published, you have to face down industry reviews and reader reviews -- or maybe loud, shrugging, total indifference. You have people think you're not a real writer because you're self-published or with a small press or you write for a genre that doesn't really count to them. You have to go to book signings where you don't sell books and open royalty statements with "unearned royalties" stamped in red.
And if you're a published writer, you're ranked already -- you have to go out and promote your book even when your Amazon ranking shows you're the 821,678th most popular, and your Goodreads page has gifs of celebrities gagging at your work. And anyone can see it. Everyone.
So I don't buy that we're truly neurotic. Does an engineer have to face down one-star reviews? Does a salesperson have to go out and sell a product, with the number "821,678th most popular" stamped on his forehead?
No. But we do. We are not neurotic.
We are brave and strong and resilient in the face of setbacks, both public and private.
This week I was thrilled to get a new agent, Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, and I posted about it on my own blog, if you're interested in the whole story. It took a lot of resilience to get here after many manuscripts and many, many rejections. I have a book coming out with a small press, and I'm putting myself out there, beyond my little cave, and for me, that's brave.
If you are reading this, wherever you are on your writing journey, you are brave and strong and resilient.