Posted by Jay Montville at 8:34 AM
On his blog this week, agent Nathan Bransford asked his readers how they deal with the "Am I crazies," which he defined as this:
You probably know what I'm talking about: the "Am I crazies" are that feeling you get where you're spending so much time writing a novel or multiple novels, your friends and family are wondering what you're doing, and you have no idea whatsoever whether you will ever see publication. You could be spending your hours writing the great American novel or you could be writing something that will only be read by your critique partners. No way of knowing. That's when you stare at the ceiling and wonder, "Am I crazy for spending so much time doing this?"
It's an interesting question. Writers, like other artists, are asked to create before they get paid (either literally, like, in money, or figuratively, in appreciation). So someone who wants to be a writer has to commit to the work first, and then hope for the reward later. There's a lot of time in the middle there. And if you want to be published, there's a lot of time when your goal is dependent on other people who are very busy and may not get back to you as promptly as you would like.*
So it's normal, I think, to have those moments where you wonder "why am I doing this? Why am I spending all this time on what could very well be a fruitless endeavour? WHY BOTHER?"
I have those moments from time to time. But I didn't respond to Nathan's question this week, because I don't have an answer for him. How do I deal with the "Am I Crazies"? Simple.
I ignore them. I pull a Scarlett O'Hara and decide I'm going to worry about whether or not I'll get published tomorrow, and then tomorrow I do the same thing. See, the thing is, there's nothing I can do beyond what I'm doing to get published. I have taken (am taking) every conceivable step beyond meeting and marrying a billionaire who can buy me my own publishing house.** So it doesn't matter if I'm crazy or not. The decision is out of my hands.
The funny thing is, most of the writers on Nathan's thread have said the same thing--they just deal. My favorite response came from a woman named Tracy, whose answer started:
I had 5 kids within a 6 year span, so I already know I'm crazy.
No kidding, lady!
* Or AT ALL. I'm looking at you Agent Who Fell Off The Face Of The Earth. (NOTE, this is not a veiled reference to Agent Ted, who is very prompt and who I spoke to just last week.)
** If you are said billionaire, please feel free to contact me via comment. I'm always on the market for a fresh billionaire.