Handling it Well

Okay, after a week of writing about writing, I am personally ready to move on to other topics for a while. However, as a parting thought, I want to offer up an example of a writer who, unlike the much-belittled Jane Austen Doe, handles the vagaries of the writing life with some amount of grace. And so we turn to Pamie. Pamie, as many of you know, is a writer with a very popular Web site and a well-regarded and generally well-reviewed first novel. She’s been shopping around a second novel, and in this entry in her Journal (separate from her blog, you know), she talks about some of the troubles she’s been having selling it. Her eventual response to this is, I think, almost abnormally healthy:

So what do you do? I have to move on. I want to keep writing books, so I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to write more instead of stalling here. I guess this manuscript needs another draft, maybe when I’m a little older, maybe when I’m a better writer.

And so she’s moving on to other things. Now, I would imagine there’s a fair amount of emotional stuff about this decision Pamie isn’t getting into in the entry; any writer knows that it’s difficult to have worked on something for a long time and then have to come to the conclusion that it has to be let go, even if just to shelve it pending another draft at some unspecified point in the future. The point is, whatever that process, she’s done it and she’s doing what she needs to do to keep writing and hopefully keep publishing.

This is one of the reasons I think in the long run Pamie’s going to have a fine writing career: She gets that writing books is a business and that sometimes even things you love aren’t always right for the business end of it (the other reasons she is going to have a fine writing career are, in no particular order, that she’s smart, she writes well, and she’s funnier than a shaved koala). Unlike the lady in Salon, she doesn’t seem to be looking for sympathy or outside forces to blame. She’s just getting on with it.

And so I say onto Pamie: Rock on. Also, of course, consider book #2 pre-ordered, whatever that book may be and whenever it may come out.

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