Dealing with Disappointment. Again.

Disappointment-Sign-1The writing journey is so up and down, back and forth. It’s a constant uphill climb. Three steps forward, two steps back, making progress and starting over.

It seems like it generally moves in the right direction, if you’re willing to keep persevering, but every now and then there’s a huge boulder in the path that makes for a detour of unforeseen complications.

And sometimes, a bomb goes off, sending you flying back to where you started.

At least, that’s how it feels.

I’ve been here a long time. In this writing journey, on this path, in this fellowship of bloggers. On this particular site, once you get published, you get kicked out. In a nice way. But still, you get to move on.

I’ve been pursuing this dream for a lot of years. Making progress, going backward, making progress again, only to have to start over. And over. And over. People ask, “Why don’t you self-publish?” That’s a valid question. I’ve thought about it. I’ve weighed the pros and cons of self-pubbing against seeking traditional publication, and I still have my heart set on traditional publishing.

This past week has been one of monumental disappointment. I saw the finish line. It was there. I’ve spent the last eight months working almost non-stop because I thought the fruit of my labor was just over the next rise.

But it wasn’t. The path veered in another direction entirely from the one I wanted to take.

And while I know I made the right decision, for me, for my book, I can’t help but want to weep at the frustration. My heart is breaking, and I’m overwhelmed with self-doubt and a multitude of other emotions. I can’t help wondering if I’m wrong. If I should be doing it differently. If God’s plan for me is something else entirely. If I’m just supposed to wait on His timing or give up. If I’ve done something wrong and I’m being punished.

Yes, I know, that’s not really in line with a theology of grace, but I can’t help thinking it. I go through all of the struggles in my life and wonder, “If I had that under control, would my writing finally be blessed?”

I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or where I’m supposed to go with this next, I just know I’m overwhelmed with the ache of another seeming failure, and exhausted from working with nothing to show for it, and frustrated from having to start back at the beginning.

But I’ll keep going. I’m not ready to give up yet. And so I’ll deal with this disappointment as I’ve dealt with all the others over the last several years I’ve been doing this.


About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

19 comments on “Dealing with Disappointment. Again.

  1. wow…I feel you. I totally feel you and I am kind of wondering along the lines of your emotions. Is this it? Is this really the way to go? Should I just quit and do something else and stash that dreams of a book into a box, bury them way beneath the cores of the earth, never to be opened up again. Sometimes, I wonder it it’s worth all the efforts ever…I just had to leave a comment and I pray God refreshes your spirit and gives you a reason to write again if it’s His will as I ponder on my own journey. Cheers!

  2. As bookstores close and traditional publishers publish fewer and fewer books, getting published is more and more like winning the lottery. Have you thought about writing some side stuff and self publishing that, while you play the trad pub waiting game? You know, build up an audience. A lot of times, editors won’t take you unless they know you’ll sell books to your audience.

    • Yes, I have and that’s one thing I’m working on.
      The short story series I did on here, “The Amulet,” had a pretty good audience, so I’m working on self-publishing that one.

  3. Avily, it feels strange to write a response when I don’t really know you. But one thing I do know is grace. For me, writing is not something I do for God, but with Him. As a demented Eric Liddell would say in an alternative universe, “God gave me stories, and when I write, I feel His good pleasure.” So often we use publication as a sort of vindication of what we are doing. Although I hope to one day be published (I myself am choosing the self-publishing route), I am not yet. If Christ returned today, I think the fact that we are using the talents He gave us is more important than if our books are in some bookstore. Remember the story Jesus told of the servants and the talents? Hang in there. Write the stories He gives you and be content with His timing. I loved what you wrote. You’re a writer. The self-doubt (oi vey! Do I know that!), the frustration, the worry that we should really be doing something “more productive”. Let it go. (Oh no! I promise you- I’m not warping into a Disney song!) Keep fighting the good fight. Why do we do this? Because we’re storytellers and stories touch people’s hearts.

  4. How have you dealt with the other disappointments?

  5. *hugs* I love your heart, Avily. Thanks for sharing openly the thoughts and feelings that so many harbor inside. Even the strongest and most faith-filled have the times when circumstances give them a beating. Thank you for showing us how to be real about the struggle and yet never give up.

    Glad you’re staying true to your vision! I pray that it is some morning soon that you wake up and feel the newness of dawn and fresh hope and declare, “I’m ready to go at it again!” May God grant a clear view and inner conviction of your path: to know whether it’s just a matter of time, or whether your writing needs more work, or whether a different story might be the one that breaks through. Whatever the case, you are not alone!

  6. Hang in there, Avily. You’re a great writer, and your time will come.

    It’s too early to talk about my own disappointment, but suffice it to say Teddi is absolutely correct that you are not alone.

  7. Thank you all so much for your encouragement! It is very hard, but I appreciate the camaraderie and commiseration. I know it’s not a singular struggle, and that helps. 🙂

  8. Gotta reiterate–you are not alone! Your situation sounds eerily similar to my recent setback, terminating a contract with a small pub before my book could be released. It’s tough, and it does feel like starting over. But it was best for my book.

    I was all ready to go indie and then felt like God was telling me to sub again to agents. IDK what will happen, but I think I’ve come to the same conclusion as you. I want to be traditionally published, but I’m just so tired of the waiting game.

    So I’ve decided to go indie with 1 of my 2 current projects by the end of the year, regardless of my trad pub options. Maybe I’ll ended up where I want, being a hybrid author between indie and traditional publishing. If not, I can still say I was published in 2015. 🙂

  9. Totally know where you are coming from, Avily. This whole thing is really hard some days. You spend hours and hours and YEARS of work on something…for what? And then you wonder if you should have been spending your time on something actually worthwhile, like helping people. It’s tough. I’ve had those doubts more than once. Writing is such a lonely and difficult thing so often, I wonder why any of us bother. But then I read something that makes me walk around in a daze for awhile and I remember the power and beauty of a well-crafted tale. And I go back and start tapping on the keys again. You’re not alone in your disappointment, but hang in there. Vincent Van Gogh never sold one painting in his life time. That sometimes makes me despair, and sometime it brings me hope. 🙂

  10. This is helpful mostly to new writers and authors. Failure or disappointment is the first stage of being at perfection.

  11. […] been following me awhile, you know I recently had a setback in my traditional publishing pursuit (Dealing with Disappointment. Again.). As an offshoot of that, I’ve been thinking more about getting some of my work out there, […]

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