Thursday, April 01, 2010

ARE we April Fools?


Waaaay back when I worked at a newspaper, I decided I would enter the Georgia Press Association's Humorous Column of the Year competition. My editor at the time told me I could, but not to be surprised if I didn't win. The competition was stiff, he warned me.

"It's like dropping a rose petal into the Grand Canyon," were his actual words.

So I entered. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I forgot all about it.

Then, some months later, I got a notice that I had, gasp, won.

My rose petal had landed with a bang.

I got much the same response when I admitted to people that I was trying to get published. They patted me on the arm or the head or whatever socially acceptable body part they could easily get to and said, "That's nice, dear. Don't be disappointed."

For years, longer than some writers' journeys, shorter than others, I secretly nursed the idea that I was a fool. Who was I kidding? Maybe everyone was right.

I found April to be a particularly hard month, because that was the month I added up all my little tax deductions -- my paper, my printer ink, my Tyvek envelopes, my book purchases, my RWA dues, my internet usage. I dreaded the day the IRS would audit me and say, "You can't deduct this! You're not a real writer!"

Yes, I did finally get published, through a combination of luck and learning and pure cussedness.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because it's April. And somewhere out there is a non-writing spouse leaning over Turbo Tax and saying, "Honey, that's a lot of money you spent on your little hobby last year. We could take a vacation with all that money."

Don't give up. Do you hear me? Do not even think about giving up.

This isn't some hobby that can easily be swapped out for snorkeling off the Great Barrier Reef. If you're anything like me, your writing is a big, chunk of who you really are. And who you are? Well, that's the last thing you should give up.

5 comments:

Piedmont Writer said...

You are so funny, and cute, and right! Never give up.

April is my birthday month, I celebrate every day so I'm hoping I hear back from the agent with the partial, "I'd like the full on this please."

Mary Anne Gruen said...

Thank you for the pep talk! LOL I'm waay past April Fool. I'm now becoming an Old Fool. Believe me when I say there are many times I wished I could give up writing. Although in my case, it's more storytelling. I love stories!

Donna Hosie said...

LOVE this!

Cynthia Reese said...

Anne, Happy Birthday! And here's hoping your birthday present will be not only, "I'd like the full," but "GIMMEE THE FULL, cuz I've GOT to read the rest of this!"

Mary Anne, I love stories, too ... but don't call yourself a fool. Call yourself a dreamer! (and a writer!)

Donna, thanks!

Tawna Fenske said...

Amen to this!

There's really nothing more I can add -- you said it perfectly!

Tawna