Dancing in the Shadows

Some days I feel as if I just can’t win.

I guess today was one of them.  My manuscript is ready to be seen by editors, and I wonder if this round of submissions will be “the” one?  Will someone love it?  Will my book be finally good enough to sell?

So many other people seem to be getting deals.  They talk about their editors and publication timelines, and all the hard work it takes to bring a book to market.  From this end, their worries seem so much easier than mine.  Their books have sold, and will be on bookshelves — whether real or in cyberspace — and their stories will finally be read.

It is wonderful hearing about friends getting their books published, garnering three book deals, going on tours.  I wish them luck, really, really I do.  I love them, and I know how hard they worked, and how much they deserve it.

I just want to be one of them.  <sigh>

Will I ever get there?  Should I keep pounding my head on the wall, revising, rewriting, evaluating every period and comma and wondering what it will take to get this book launched?

I’m not alone.  Every writer goes through this, even the ones on the NYT Best seller’s list — even after they have multiple books in print.  I know, because we all talk about it constantly.  It’s like a haunting refrain that wraps its melancholy melody around our hearts and brains.  Will we ever be good enough?

What a mass of contradictions.  While we “know” we are in line with the experience of others, we still “feel” isolated, unworthy, unable, untalented — the list of “un’s” goes on and on.  And not one of them is an Un Cola — light and lemony — no, they are all pretty bitter and hard to swallow — and yet, we do.

In our discordant Greek Chorus, we are like specters on a stage moving in and out of the light, all singing the same tune, yet in our hearts, convinced we sing alone.  We do not need to summon evil spirits, we haunt ourselves with our worries, hidden hurts, and rejections.

That is what makes it so special to be among so many writer friends.  I’m bolstered by a bevy of smart, quirky women.  We share our joys and our fears — everyone of us sisters, dancing in the shadows, waiting for our turn in the light.

I send you my love, and wish all your dreams come true.  May your burdens ease.  Remember, I’m here, dancing for you, too — whether in the darkness or in the light.

Diana Belchase


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