You’ve Got a Friend

I’ve always been a loner–the kind of person who’s happy to do things on my own. I’ve had one-person dinners, watched movies alone, even travelled overseas alone. And I don’t mind it. In fact, I’ve even enjoyed it. The solitary life of a writer has come naturally to me. The days spent holed up in the house, doing nothing but building words and crafting characters, planning plots and trying to get what’s in my mind onto the page; I’ve loved it all.

But I’ve been in a slump lately. I’ve just shelved a novel, the current novel still needs a lot of workshopping, and the market for books is increasingly hard to crack. I’m a decent writer, but not an especially gifted one. The new “big thing” agents and publishers want is erotic fiction, which I don’t write, because of my faith and beliefs.

There are days when I can’t see the novels for the words. Days of doubt and uncertainty; days when I wonder what I’m doing, when there are other, far more talented authors all chasing the same thing. I’m sure it’s a normal thing–everyone struggles at some point, after all–but advice easily given to others is much harder when you have to act on it yourself.

I’ve written before about how I’ve never been able to stick to anything; and how I’m more likely to put something down and never look at it again when I get too frustrated with how things are (not) progressing. Despite the optimistic, upbeat Leanne who’s prevalent in most of these articles, there’s also a whiny, defeatist Leanne that emerges far too often; who wants to give up on all of it, hide in her room, and disappear into other worlds. Other people be damned.

It hasn’t been that escape, or even solitary reflection, that has helped me the most. No, it’s been my family and friends, who’ve rallied around most magnificently. They’ve let me whinge and rant at them, pushed me not to give up, read my drafts as they were written, and peppered me with encouraging anecdotes and articles. They haven’t abandoned me in disgust when I kept pushing them off or ignoring their chats in order to write.

They’ve been there when I’ve failed, helped me brush myself off, and dragged me onwards… even if it felt like I was kicking and screaming, sometimes. If it wasn’t for them, there would be no novels in the first place. To Leen, Pugz, Nat, Ry, Von, and Essa, who’ve borne the worst of it–thank you for everything. You guys are a blessing, and the reason I’m still writing and still hoping today.

There’s still a ton of hurdles to overcome, and undoubtedly they’ll be forced to endure more ranting and complaining. Perhaps some surprise explosions or break-downs–though I hope not! But if I finally succeed, I will proudly ascribe it to everyone’s efforts, not just mine. Because even though I’m a natural loner, the message has finally come through loud and clear: This journey was never meant to be taken alone.

Leanne Yong is an aspiring author who is working on her second young adult novel. Check out her blog at Clouded Memories for more information and a journal chronicling her latest foray into novel writing. She would also like you to note the “Like” button just below that’s begging to be clicked.

4 thoughts on “You’ve Got a Friend

  1. Leanne, no clue what your beliefs are, but if you didn’t know Christian/Inspirational Romance is a hot category too. No drinking, swearing, dancing and other behaviors that could be considered questionable. Check it out. It may give you an avenue to a hot market that’s still consistent with what you believe. I’m going on the assumption that it’s Christian, but I may be wrong. If so, Ooops. Sorry in advance!

    1. You’re dead on, Kath! 😉 I didn’t realise that Christian/Inspirational romance was hot, so that’s good to know! Although I hope you were joking the no drinking/swearing/dancing(?!) bit. 😛

  2. Nope. Not joking about the drinking/swearing/dancing stuff. But check out the genre anyway. If you want a place to start, go to either the “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” website. (Hilariously funny all the time.) Or go to the RWA website. Their RITA nominees are posted according to category, so you can get a list of the best of the year in each category. That should give you a sample of what people like. SBTB also does that with guest reviews and all sorts of general chatter from “The Bitchery”. Have fun!

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