Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Does it All Make Sense?

In books it almost always does... at some point... finally... when we get through the bleak moment, the climax and settle comfortably into the denouement. All the pieces fit. All the tangled webs, crossed paths, miscommunications, missed opportunities all come together to form some sort of satisfying big picture.

Life is not like that.

This week I will win an award that many years ago I dreamed of winning. It is not some big huge thing but since I came to writing through romance novels, which I read and loved, it was a small pleasure to imagine one day being recognized for my writing in the major review source The Romantic Times. This week at their convention they will call my name for winning the Reviewers Choice for the Best Love Inspired of 2010 - Their First Noel. In the issue where they announced this, I also received a kind and glowing review of my next book, Home To Stay, 4.5 stars. Top Pick.

That is so sweet. I am so appreciative. It was almost a perfect coup... because in my heart Home To Stay might well have been my last book for Love Inspired. Part of that is because it seems like they aren't really all that crazy about my work - it seems like whatever I propose is wrong in some way and the contract offers, even when I suggest a series, are one book, one book, one book. Not that I don't appreciate the contracts. Absolutely I do.

I just... I can't help thinking as whatever I submit is turned away again and again and even the smallest suggestions of my own voice are sanded down to a faint whisper (and the titles become so generic that they don't mean anything, much less reflective of a book as mine) I can't help thinking, what is wrong with me? Why is my work so inadequate? Why isn't the project I love with all my heart and keep getting great feedback on bringing an offer? (the small solace of that is that I am slowly building a great community of Helen fans online, that grows daily and that's totally, 100% my voice though my bank won't take a mortgage payment of 'voice', I checked )

I don't have the answers. Life is not like a book. It doesn't have to make sense. Awards and good reviews are wonderful. I am grateful.
But here's a glimpse into a working writer's life, they don't make up for somebody saying they have faith in you by investing in your book. I can completely understand why so many authors are self publishing now.