The Right Now Machine

Hello my darlings!

As I wander through the internets, I come across all kinds of inspirational posts.

I like inspirational posts. They are so…inspiring.

But sometimes, things that are meant to be inspirational kind of have that jellyfish effect. You read the beautifully fonted words cast over a soothing backdrop and think, “Wow. That thing I read is inspirational as fuck.”

Then, a few minutes later you feel the bile-flavored discord bubbling up and wonder, “Why do I suddenly hate myself?”

For me, the essence of bitterness has been spawned by a variety of “The hard part isn’t…” quotes.

These quotes are always something like, “The hard part isn’t this, it’s THAT.”

Essentially, these posts are saying don’t get bogged down in whatever is bogging you down, because it isn’t the hard part. The hard part comes later, or it’s something really philosophical which will put all your boggedness into perspective and shit.

Maybe I’m sensitive. Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe the quote was posted in a less than inspirational font.

Regardless, I get grumpy when I read this posts.

Here are some of the publishing related quotes.

“The Hard Part Isn’t Writing the Book…”

So, I get this. We are writers. Writing is what we do.

But I don’t like that bit. It’s hard to write a book. Some stories come easier than others, but no matter what, no matter how crappy or unsellable that story might be, it takes a lot of time and effort to get those words out of your head and into intelligible sentences.

I get what the quote is saying. The hard part isn’t the story. It’s something that comes later…

Like, getting an agent?


“The Hard Part Isn’t Signing With an Agent…”

Oh. Okay. Cool.

What the quote wants you to feel is this: Don’t mentally beat the shit out of yourself when trying to find an agent. Sure, it’s a tricky process, but in the end, publishing is soooooo much more than that part. When you look back after what will hopefully be a long and successful career, that will be but a whisper of a memory, your query quest.

I’m actually a silver linings kind of gal. I love hearing the stories of people who had things run smoothly and don’t have querying PTSD. (Totally a real thing.)

But at the same time, for people who are in the querying hole? It can make them feel like maybe they are the only ones having that hard a time. Or maybe it’s so taxing on them because they aren’t cut out for it. Something.

“The Hard Part Isn’t Selling a Book…”

Oh really.

Sure, this is meant to say that once you are looking back (again with the looking the fuck back) it will all seem like a blip.

Great. Tell that to all the people who have buried their book darlings after eleventy billion rounds of submission ending with no sold book.

I get that it’s all supposed to be mystical and enlightening. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey, or whatever.

“The Hard Part Isn’t Becoming a Best Seller…”

I’m…I’m going to punch my pillow now and not at all pretend it’s someone saying this.

Look, publishing is a crazy business. Some might say publishing is a jerk. Some might say publishing is the best thing there ever was ever, amen.

Regardless of your outlook on always seeing the positive in life, at one point or another, there will be some part of this trip that feels like a giant dick in the eye.

We will have our ups and downs. The lefts and rights. The whatever cliche you’d like to insert here.

And people who have been through it are trying to help. Really they are. They have walked the walk, and lived to tell the tale. They are just trying to pass down whatever nuggets of information they can.

It’s kind of like when people have kids and they meet someone who is about to have their first child and they accidentally word vomit all the things they know about parenting onto the person who didn’t even really ask. It’s just that the already parents know the secrets and the horrors and the awesome that they went through, and they want to warn/encourage/squeal with someone who hasn’t hit the grid yet. Maybe they want to help you know that it will all be worth it in the end.

Or maybe they want to warn you that nothing will ever prepare you to be pooped on by another human being.

Which, really, is a metaphor that also works for publishing.

(It’s a metaphor you have to really want to see…)

Sometimes those quotes are taken from a moment when the person is asked for grand wisdom and they just say whatever they can. It’s pretty damn hard to come up with grand wisdom on demand.

So, while it feels like those inspirational quotes are biting you in the ass instead of uplifting that ass, I promise, it’s not just you. It’s not even the quote. It’s just another thread in a giant blanket of hope and insecurity.

Just remember to watch for what matters to you right now. Don’t go all big picture on yourself. When you sit down to write a story, or query, or sub, or whatever, don’t be thinking “The hard part isn’t making the best seller’s list…” because you will stress yourself right out of a good thing.

Right now is what matters. What you are doing is what counts.

Not everything is going to apply to you. Not everything is going to inspire you. You are you; a glorious individual with gloriously individual needs. So if something isn’t working for you, move on and find what does. Some stories of success might make you feel like crap. Others might pull you out of that desolate hole of writerly hell you’d been stuck in.

Just like there are no specific set rules of writing that work for every single writer in the world, there will be no one kind of chuck to the chin that hits the sweet spot.

If something makes you feel like balls, it’s clearly not the droid you were looking for. Close that browser tab and roll the fuck on. Try not to dwell on it. Try not to let things get you down. (Easier said than done, I know. Just ask my poor pillow.)  

But keep looking. Out there is someone or something that will give you the upswing you need. 

And until you find it, just remember, they make chocolate/booze/cupcakes/etc for very specific reasons. 

I hope you all are well!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Inspirational as Fuck

1 Comment

  1. Hello Ms. Summer (I’ve missed your sageness)

    I happen to agree.
    Although I might *talk* about the various steps in the minefield of an author within a post on my blog, I don’t do the “But wait there’s more…bad news” quotes.

    Because I think they are sucky.
    I know they’re supposed to be uplifting and positive and *inspirational* and blah, blah, blah, but for me, anything that tells me this is NOT that, isn’t doing it for me. Yes, there’s truth in them there words, but would I print those quotes out and stick them on my wall – No.

    Everyone will find their own path to inspiration, and that path will change direction often. If quotes like that work for someone, more power to you I say, as for me, I like ones that make me think and/or make me smile.

    One of my favourites and this goes for lovers, and life, and writing as well as wine:

    “If the wine is sour, through it out”
    (attributed to Michelangelo – having said that at a tavern just before destroying his first frescos on The Sistine Chapel, before re-creating the masterpiece we know today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.