Trash Talk Tuesday #2: Writing Life + Dating Life

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What do dating and writing have in common?
Answer: Rejection!

I’ve often joked that I spend my free time getting rejected – and that’s partially true. Actually, these days? I’m pretty sure that I’m spending ALL my free time getting rejected. I’m collecting rejection letters and unanswered dating app messages like they’re going to contain the antidote for the zombie apocalypse.

I’m a Single Female Writer, who has re-entered the dating world at 35, where rejection abounds.

You put yourself out there enough, you’re bound to get rejected. A lot. SO MUCH REJECTION. Like more than you ever thought possible, in both arenas.

The reality is so much less glamorous or arduous than pop culture would have us believe.

The catch? Your mileage may vary (YMMV). I hate this saying, so let’s come up with something better.

  • Your results are dependent upon…nope, that’s not it.
  • Life is like Schrodinger’s cat: you never know if the cat is alive or dead until you open the box. Not quite.
  • Ah-HA! Life is a Choose Your Own Adventure®, and we write our own stories.

I love Choose Your Own Adventure® books, and this addresses the one thing that always bugs me when people talk about their lives. It’s a lesson that took a whole lot of work for me to fully understand. Ready? Turn the page.

This was my very first CYOA book.

You ALWAYS have a choice.

Always. You may not like any of your choices, but you have them. You’re probably going to be terrified, but yeah, so is the rest of the world. Seriously. I haven’t done anything worth doing that hasn’t scared me in a good way. If it scares you in an “I’m about to French kiss a black mamba” way? Maybe re-think that. Still, it’s your choice.

Yeah, this answer sucks. Everyone looks for the magic formula to make things work. Ever wonder why writers are absolutely obsessed with learning about the routines of other writers? We all secretly hope that if we do things in a specific order, or if we write with cold-brewed coffee topped with milk that is hand-frothed from Highland Cows that are massaged for ten hours a day, then THAT will be the thing. The one thing we can do to make us productive writers each and every time.

But it’s malarkey. Bullshit of the highest order. You can do “all the right things” and still wind up unpublished. Or quelle horreur, single! *Waits for the riots to die down and the villagers to leave with their pitchforks.*

You know what makes you a writer? You write. No amount of magical beverages will get words on the page.

Truth be told, there are worse things to be than unpublished. Or single.

If the choice is having a sub-par writing contract or an agent who really doesn’t feel invested in me, I’ll pass, thanks. Same is true with a relationship. The thoughts of scarcity are what keep us trapped, and make us believe that this is the “only one we’ll get.” This is human nature; this kind of lizard brain thinking kept us alive when there may not be another wooly mammoth to feed the tribe through the winter.

*Hands you a mug of cocoa* Yeah, I know. I really, really do. It sucks to be disappointed. It sucks to have something go well and then…not. You can quit today. You can even quit for today AND tomorrow. I recommend liberal amounts of iced coffee and Netflix and a long walk in nature.

However. If you want to be a successful, published writer? If you want to find your sun and stars?

YOU DON’T GET TO QUIT FOR GOOD.

Grab the page that says THE END, tear it out of your book, and burn it.

There is always another one. There is always a choice. Even when it feels like everything around you is falling apart, you can choose to see the world as abundant with enough opportunities and people for everyone to find their person – or you can choose to think that this one is the only one you’ve got, and so why try.

It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure®. Which adventure will you choose next?

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