The Pros and Cons of Invisibility


‘They’–the illustrious hearsay experts–liken a writer’s existence to a vacuum. I’m starting to realize ‘They’ aren’t wrong. Between the sucking vortex of silence on the receiving end of my agent queries to the ominous passing of contest deadlines, the vastness of my professional solitude has begun to wear on me a little.

In fact, there was a moment a few days ago when I thought I had died.

In those brief delusional moments, I surmised everyone around me was a manifestation of my subconscious, nothing more than elaborate scenery for my postmortem ghost-drama. I imagined my possessions were only echoes of what I used to own–my computer, my printer, my paper–all shades of what I’d had on my earthly desk. It made perfect sense; I wasn’t getting feedback because I wasn’t sending out anything physical.

On many levels, I find my plane of existence not being on a mail carrier’s route a more preferable explanation than the fact I might not have whatever it is the publishing world wants in an author. Then again, the poltergeist-in-residence scenario would be a little too Beetlejuice-ish even for me (and since I left my veiled beekeeper hat in nineteen eighty-seven, I’m not really dressed for that particular event, anyway).

The deadline for notification of winners in that one writing contest is supposedly the twenty-first of this month. I’d already figured I hadn’t won, but I felt the few weeks between now and the release of the December issue of the magazine (which makes public the list of winners) would let me down gently–ease me out of expectation into acceptance. But, I opened the mail today and there was that December issue, sitting in my mailbox, the winners of the contest tucked neatly inside. It was enough to make me want to crawl back into my imaginary grave.

The lack of communication in this business is disheartening, at best. At least at my old job people were lining up to tell me how much I sucked. I didn’t have to guess. But, then again, my old job was hell, too, just a different kind–an inescapable realm of monotonous torment packed to the brim with neurotic, nouveau-riche malcontents.

I guess when I look at it that way, this vacuum ain’t all bad.

About Avery

I am a roller derbying, dark fantasy author. This blog chronicles my adventures in life, writing and skating. View all posts by Avery

9 responses to “The Pros and Cons of Invisibility

  • avery

    Christina — It has to be the solitary writer thing coming back to haunt us. Sometimes I follow The Architect around the house in the evenings, babbling because I don’t get enough ‘people time’ during the day.Kate — Thanks.Steve — All good, solid advice that I’ve taken to heart. I just have to work and wait. I know this book will sell. It’s not an ego thing, or stubborn refusal to see a potentially dismal outcome. It’s like eleven years ago when I knew after four months of dating I was going to marry the Architect and be happy. Fate. Destiny. Whatever silly name you want to give it, I just know.

  • Steve Malley

    My first submissions were by mail. Weeks ‘n weeks ‘n weeks went by before I was rejected. Sometimes, a request for a partial put off the rejection for more weeks. When I moved to email, I got rejected much quicker. There’s only one cure: keep writing. Keep up your work on Book 2, then start a standalone. Then another. You may never sell your first novel (I’ve got two that in the drawer shall remain), but so what?You know you can start and *finish* a novel. You’ve just passed 98% of the human race right there. You’re learning the submission ropes. That means you’ll come off like a prop in no time. And with every novel, you get better.So write more novels. Make your writing something that *can’t* be rejected. And yeah, it takes your mind off the waiting…🙂

  • Christina

    Lately I’ve been feeling that way too, mostly wondering why I don’t have better people skills when dealing with others. I feel removed and that might be from all that alone time writing. I love that picture! Great focalization on vortex.

  • avery

    Yeah, I got that. I just meant here in my solitude any kind of a response seems almost welcome, where I’d assumed you could have happily passed on the response you received and stayed incommunicado a bit longer–thereby the grass being greener….Okay, it’s not a good use of an idiom if it takes that long to explain.

  • Charles Gramlich

    By responses I mean things like getting 3 rejections in the same day on a day that I’ve been 12 hours at work and am exhausted, the kind of days where you think you can’t take any more rejection but it comes anyway.

  • avery

    Thanks, Spy. I hope so.Charles — “Then often responses hit all at once and I wish they hadn’t.”I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the barbed wire.

  • Charles Gramlich

    I’d have to quote the same line Spyscribbler did. That gave me my best chuckle and frisson of the day. Frissuckle maybe? I’ve had the same experience of the void outside myself when I’ve got stuff out to markets. Then often responses hit all at once and I wish they hadn’t. And yeah, this vacuum is better than many.

  • spyscribbler

    “In fact, there was a moment a few days ago when I thought I had died.”Now see, that kind of writing is exactly why some day that mail carrier is going to have some good news for you!

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