Monday, January 10, 2011

Makes Me Wanna Hurl

There are a few different types of nausea, as most of you know.

There’s the ever intense ‘I ate something nasty’ food poisoning kind.

The ‘thief in the night’ stomach virus is a little less violent but will still throw you down for the count.

There’s sympathetic nausea.  (you know those people who puke if they see puke?)

Morning sickness.  Which really shouldn’t be called morning sickness but rather ‘all day for the first eight weeks of pregnancy’ sickness.  I found I also had an aversion to garlic and to Patrick Swayze’s one hit wonder ‘She’s Like the Wind’.
( When I was newly pregnant with our first, my husband kept playing that stupid song on my parent’s piano.  He’s one of those charming people who can’t seem to stop themselves from jumping on the first piano they see even though they don’t know how to play.  The opening cords to ‘She’s Like the Wind’ pretty much began and ended his repertoire.  -Ding ding ding ding ding.  Ding ding ding ding dingAt the last ding, my stomach would upheave right on cue. I finally begged him to stop.  The song still makes me uncomfortable to this day)

And then there’s the nausea that comes about whenever anyone in my entourage asks me ‘So! how’s it going with your book?’

Basically when I think about my third book out with agents, my heart drops into my stomach and the word ‘FAIL’ appears in large blinking lights behind my eyes.

It literally makes me sick to think about it. 

It’s my weak spot- The biggest thing going on in my life that I haven’t succeeded in.

 When I start to answer through the churning in my gut, the harder questions come- ‘Why aren’t you published yet?  I don’t understand why it’s taking you so long?  Why don’t you just submit to publishers?’

I honestly want to upchuck in their face. 

But I don’t.  (I don’t think I’d have a lot of friends left if I did)

 Instead I try and explain the system and repeatedly kick myself for having told ANYONE I see face to face that I’m an aspiring writer.   What was I thinking? 

Does this happen to anyone else?  Does talking about your writing to people who don't understand make you wanna hurl?

48 comments:

Joy Tamsin David said...

Sometimes reading what I actually wrote on the page makes me wanna hurl. LOL.

But I definitely have days I'm sorry I ever mentioned my book to anyone.

Mark Young said...

You are not alone, Katie. Every writer goes through this agony of putting your work out there, and waiting for a respons. In the meantime, we stave off those well-meaning queston, "Well, how is the book going?"

Don't give up. Unfortanaly, the publishing industry is going through a paradigm shift where authors might need to look at changing their strategy. One source that has helped me through this is Joe Konrath's blog at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com.

Best wishes in 2011.

Laura Pauling said...

I just give a vague answer and my standard - it's a long process. And that's it. It just makes me appreciate my writer friends that much more. And yes, it's hard to realize a project is not making a splash like we thought it would. Every writer can understand that.

LTM said...

currently, yes. Actually, people just keep asking if I've heard anything, and that makes me wanna hurl.

As does "she's like the wind." :D

Holly Dodson said...

Uh, yeah. I don't tell people I see day to day when I submit work. I can't handle the "so have you heard?" questions that follow. Especially if the answer was a big R.

I'll tell them about my writing, but that's it. Then they ask how it's going and I can say, "Great! The revisions are coming along nicely." or something else vague and positive lol

Kara Mustafa said...

I had that question. I also hate being asked to explain the submission process. People just DON'T GET IT and that makes me want to puke too.

Nicole L Rivera said...

All the time! In fact, I was asked about it Saturday and last night. Inside I want to growl at this innocent people, but instead I smile at tell them all is well (even if I don't feel like it's well). I'm thinking of making a shirt that says: "Unless my smile is as wide as the Jokers and I'm screaming from rooftops, I have not been published and should not be asked questions." On the up side, I think my mom's finally catching on :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I try to remind myself that I asked for this when I decided I would be published. People mean well. I just tell them it's my "Lottery Ticket" and how many buyers ever win that? We laugh about dreams and then get on with our real lives.

Only the dreamer truly understands his dream. Hope your publication dreams soon come true. And if this is the only dream for you that hasn't come true, haven't you been truly blessed? Have a great Monday, Roland

Melody said...

Most of them seem to understand. Sometimes I'll catch a glimpse of a patronizing smile that says something to the effect of, "Yeah, uh-huh, you're going to get published, right. You apparently can't even get into college (can, did, got good grades, quit), so I'm going to smile and act nice and watch you fail." Honestly, sometimes I think I'd like something a little more offensive than having to guess what people are thinking. :/

Christine Fonseca said...

I can so relate to this - in fact, I was thinking about the uneasy feeling in my stomach just this weekend. HUGS!

E.J. Wesley said...

Dude, I'm so there with you on this.

Friend: "When can we read something you've written?"
Me: "As soon as you pull this pencil out of your hand and the clowns quit following me!!!"

It makes me a little crazy/cranky, too. :)

Although it is extremely hard to do, you simply have to not care. Which seems completely counterintuitive when it comes to something that means so much to us. However, we have to accept the fact that only a small number of people are REALLY going to get it, and that the expectations we place on ourselves is all of the burden we really need to be held accountable to.

EJW

Nicole Zoltack said...

Most people don't udnerstand the long and grueling road that is the road to publication. That's why I'm so appreciative of my writing blogger friends.

Dawn said...

I often clam up when I'm talking about my book to anyone.

Dawn said...

Whoops, hit send too soon. What I meant to say is, don't think of it as failure. Think of it as "warming up" for the big event. The right agent is going to LOVE you. I believe that. xo

Colene Murphy said...

Ugh. I feel ya. I get woozy about things like that too. Maybe you have something there though. Puke on them, then they will stop asking! Brilliant.

Anne Gallagher said...

I never talk about my books to anyone. However, when I get a request from an agent, I walk around with pregnancy nausea all day, sometimes for a week depending on the agent. Requests make me want to hurl.

Dan said...

I'm surrounded by non-writer types, and I always get the question, "Is your book out yet?" which, after almost a year since finishing it is slightly more legit. But I got the same question two weeks after finishing, as the though entire publishing process consisted of my driving to the local publisher and handing them my MS.

"Publish this, my good man."
"Why, yessir! Right away, Sir!"

So that question gets a little tedious, especially after I've explained how it works numerous times.

I never thought of throwing up on them, though. Hmm...

Laura Maylene said...

I think every unpublished writer feels more or less the same way about this question. Which is part of the reason why, for years, I didn't really talk about my writing with anyone outside my closest family and friends.

Candyland said...

OMG I HATE telling non-writers about the process. They just don't *get* it.

Old Kitty said...

I've not told a soul apart from bloggie friends and my writing course classmates (LOL!) and 2 bestest friends that I dabble in writing stories now and again!!! I don't think I could take the questioning!!! I don't want to hurl in public!! LOL!

Take care
x

randine said...

I know just how you feel. I try to explain the process to people but they kind of bored looking straight away. And then I get the "Well, don't give up! Look at Stephenie Meyers!" comments and THAT makes me want to throw up.
They're like "She was rejected EIGHT TIMES!!" And then they tell me that maybe I should try HER agent.

And I force a smile and a nod to be polite but I'm like "8 times is nothing. I've been rejected eight times in one day!" - which, technically I haven't but whatever who's counting.

Anyways, don't despair. You'll get there. I know you will.

Anne R. Allen said...

All of the above. This is so apropos for me. I'm literally ill with some kind of virus and an agent surprised me with a request to see some of my earlier work last week. Something I haven't even read over for months. Every time I picture her reading it, I want to hurl.

Then there are all those well meaning friends and relations I saw over the holidays who suggest I stop torturing myself with all this publishing stuff and enjoy life.

This may all be an embarrassing exercise in futility.

And I may just hurl again...

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Lol--this post makes me laugh! Questions about my writing are always hard to take--especially the "Heard anything from that agent?" At least that's the one lately.

Fortunately for me (sarcasm) I'm on week 10 of 24/7 nausea from pregnancy so I get the pukey feeling regardless. At least I don't mind talking about this one, though :)

Jane Charles said...

I used to get a nervous upset stomach when I first started telling people I wrote a novel, but thankfully I've gotten past it.

Elena Solodow said...

Haven't experience the nausea. But the lurch of failure in the pit of my stomach? Absolutely.

Tamara Narayan said...

Like another above, I also tell people it's like trying to win the lottery--close to impossible and very frustrating. Nobody's made me feel like throwing up. They are too shocked to hear I've written a whole book.

Kate said...

Keep the faith - it'll happen. But I do so understand your frustration - I still haven't told my work colleagues about my writing!

Carolyn Abiad said...

I'm well acquainted with all of the above! Writing a book is a feat in itself and we should be proud of that, but I cringe when certain people ask "How's it going?"

Raquel Byrnes said...

It hits me hard. In fact I try to keep small victories...a request for partial or a full manuscript to myself for as long as possible (not easy with my super supportive husband who tells everyone) so that I don't have to "update" everyone on how nothing is happening...YET! =)

Cheree said...

I can definitely relate, it's so frustrating trying to explain to people that don't understand the writing or publishing process. The tip is to take three deep breaths and try to change the topic.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Gosh yes! I have been in a near-constant state of nausea for a while now as I suffer through query wars. I can't tell you how much I hate it! :-)

erica and christy said...

oh yes. i should NOT have told family and colleagues that i "wrote a novel". but it's been a year since i started, six months since i finished, and, well...since i'm not published YET they've stopped talking about it. phew. when i was pregnant with our first i couldn't stand the smell of mint (or any kind of toothpaste). i'm lucky i didn't get a mouthful of cavities during the first trimester! christy

Gina said...

Katie I think you pegged the exact reason I haven't even told my own mother about my attempts at getting published.

I can't stomach the thought of having to tell people "I got rejected... again." Because anyone who hasn't tried doesn't realize how hard it is, and is probably forming the mental response of, "Wow, your stuff must really suck."

After I send out query letters, I get nauseous every time I check my e-mail. It's quite a predicament for someone who once proclaimed she'd rather die than vomit!

Carolyn V. said...

I was just asked that TODAY! How funny. I had to do the explaining. It's amazing how many people think you can just crank something out and have it published.

Kelly Dexter said...

It absolutely does. I love that people are supportive and interested, but I have no idea how to succinctly answer the question I'm asked most often: "How's your book?"

It's just so general, and being that publishing is anything but, I simply offer to keep them updated and thank them for asking.

WritingNut said...

Urgh.. I`m definitely a sympathetic puker... I`m sure you wanted to know that ;)

Now on to the important stuff...don`t worry Katie... you are definitely not alone. I love my friends to death.. they`re the best... but they don`t get this part of my life at all. I get that very same pukey feeling when I get the `look` - you know which one I mean... I mentioned it two years ago when I started becoming serious about writing again... but it`s sort of at the point now where we don`t really talk about it anymore, but that`s why I`m so glad I have you guys :)

I`ve made up my mind I`m not telling anyone until it`s a done deal... only my sister knows right now.

I hope you feel better soon!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh, yeah, I hate the "have I read your book?" question. Yep, I'm so brilliant, everyone's read it.

I'm proud that I'm a writer, but there are definitely times when I kick myself for mentioning it to non writers.

As for the querying nausea. Now you know why I'm procrastinating. ;)

Joanna St. James said...

well I used my artistic license to stretch the truth when i got asked about the sub process i said it could take up to 5 years and if it happens earlier then am a genius.

Vatche said...

When asked about my writing, I don't feel nauseated but I feel sort of nervous, especially if they start asking me what it's about.

I try to explain them the beginning of the story, but they always want more description. Then, when I offer them to be a beta reader if they really enjoy the idea of the book, they decline and ask me to just tell them more of the general plot line.

Some people just don't have the attention span for a book and just want the big picture, which is another reason why I get nervous when asked about my writing. I always wonder if I can grab my audience's attention with my story.

Anyway, interesting article, Katie, and write on!

Vicki Rocho said...

I haven't told that many people, so all I get is an occasional "Are you still writing?"

When I was pregnant w/my oldst, hubbers had given me a bottle of perfume. To this day, I can't wear it. Every time I put it on, I feel nauseous all over again. Ugh.

Katie Anderson said...

Yes! Worst time was hen recently my other half wrote a short story to submit to a sci fi magazine. He gave me a printed copy and covering letter to look over and.... well. Everything you've ever done wrong in a submission? He'd done. Bless. I felt truly mean when I had to go through and nit pick everything that was wrong with it!

Hart Johnson said...

Hang in there, Katie! Just think, when they are asking those OBVIOUSLY IGNORANT questions how STUPID AND ANNOYING they are, and that soon you will be published, but they will still be STUPID AND ANNOYING. *snicker*

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I so hear this. I just take a sip of my wine (or something from my hip flask) and smile through gritted teeth.

Jodi Henry said...

I am a stay at home mother who writes. The only people I've actually told face-to-face that I write give me the look that says: get a real job.

and my look replies: at least I like my job you jerk!

You have an award waiting for a home.

J

http://jodilhenry.blogspot.com/2011/01/handful-of-awards.html

Melissa Gill said...

Most of the people I know just pretend like they didn't hear me when I mention my writing. After they found out that I wasn't going on Oprah any time soon, or anytime now, they just dropped the whole thing. I think it makes things much easier, actually because yes it did make me nauteous to think about it or talk about it.

Kelly said...

Those that aren't writers just don't get it. They know I've been writing for four years and can't believe I don't have a book out yet! Sigh. Good luck with your queries. I'll be doing that next month!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love the people who ask, "So, have you chosen your publisher yet?" Then your eyes glaze over as you explain the process...

I figure even if I never make it...me saying out loud and in public that I am a writer might inspire someone else to be one and maybe they will make it...

Jen Daiker said...

I'm right there with you!!! I hate when I chat with people about my work (especially while in publishers hands) and I get those types of remarks. Defeat washes over me.

It also makes me more prone to writer's block. Ugh. Never a great feeling!

I'm so happy to be commenting today! I forgot how amazing it feels to visit my besties!!!

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