Home > Insane Ramblings of an Incoherent Mind > At a loss for words

At a loss for words


No, I don’t have writer’s block (or irritable vowel syndrome as I like to call it) and I doubt I ever will. You see I suffer from a highly overactive imagination as some of you well know. No that’s not the problem I’m dealing with. The problem I’m facing is the will to go on.

No, not with life. So you can put down the fingers and stop them from dialing 911. I’m not, was not, nor will I ever be tempted to take my own life. SO relax.

No the problem I’m facing is trying to become a successful author.

It’s not that I don’t have the time

It’s not that I don’t have the desire

It’s not that I don’t want to

It IS that I’ve hit that part of my career that I just don’t think I can do it. Have you ever noticed that the successful author stories always involve the word “LUCK”? It was pure luck that an agent finally read her manuscript. It was luck that a bigtime hollywood producer happened to pick up a copy of her book. It was pure luck that the big publisher she just signed a contract with found her manuscript in the slushpile. See, lately, my luck has been vershitten. Crap. Poor at best. Horrific even.

I wont go into details, but right now I even feel like my best friend has given up on me.*

Okay, a little clarification on the best friend statement above. THEY HAVEN’T given up on me. I’m a schmuck and wrote that without realizing the context. No, my best friend is my best friend. Their life is complicated just as mine is right now and I haven’t had them around as much as I WOULD like. I get cranky and stupid without them around. Carry on.

Let’s just say my life is complete shambles right now. I actually thought it was getting better for a while there… but we all know the old axioms about calms before storms, etc.

I really thought I had a shot at finding an agent this time for my latest book, My Soul to Keep. I wrote a kick ass ninja style query letter. It impressed one of my other friends so much he emailed me and helped me tone it down a little. So I did. I sent it off and still not one agent has requested full manuscripts. It had me down for a little bit, but I know how agents are (spawn of satan and all that). I figured I would give them til last Friday and then self publish it so I could retain my rights.

Then we come to the gist of this post. IS it WORTH my time to do it? Should I? I’ve even thought about sending it to my current publisher, but she’s so busy. Then I thought about sending it off to another small press…Again. Fail to see the purpose in doing so. I hate to whine and groan. But Damnit Jim, I’m a Doctor, not a writer. Okay I’m not a doctor either, but I stayed in  a Holiday Inn Express once…

Seriously. I do have a good career in fiberoptics. I’ll never be rich from it, but it pays the bills. Mostly. My question to the heavens right now is do I give up on the writing and concentrate on what I do know will keep my kids fed? A wise person once said, you can’t live if you don’t dream. What they forgot to tell me is that you can’t dream if you don’t live.

Stoopid bastards.

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  1. August 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Sean,
    We all feel like this at some point. We do. It’s tough in this business, but you need to see that you are a fabulous writer and there are people who want to read your stuff. You just haven’t foung them yet.
    I’ve been there. I know.
    cmr

  2. August 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I don’t know you well enough for any answer I give you to have foundation. I hope to know you a long time. What I do know of you, your writing always demands a response!
    I would hope your best friend/s have not given up on you.
    Sean, sometimes the hardest questions we ask, we know the answer to. (hug) oh, and (hug) xx

    • August 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Very true, and I added a clarification on the bestie statement. They haven’t given up on me, nor would they ever.

  3. August 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Don’t you dare! As a writer friend recently told me, suck it up buttercup and get on with it! I read that query letter ( if it’s the one you posted a little while ago) and I thought it was really clever. Achieving your dream of landing an agent could be seconds away- why would you stop now? And it’s not like you’re going to quit you day job – you’re managing it and pursuing your dream right now so what’s with the sudden self-ultimatum?

    Speaking from experiencing – part of getting an agent IS luck but part of it is perseverance. You give up now and you’ll never know what might have happened.

    • August 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Angela. No, I’m not going to quit the dayjob until I get a movie deal complete with action figure franchise. That was my #1 rule. 😉

  4. August 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Friggin self correct- that will teach me- should NOT use my phone for this kind of thing!

  5. August 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hey, the path to success is littered with the bodies of those who gave up. Nothing worth having is easy to come by, so finish your trip through whine country and then get back on track and pump out your kick-ass novel. We love your work 🙂

    • August 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      Ahhhh, good old sonoma county. they have the best cheese to go with my whine tasting. Sorry. I’ll shut up now 😉

  6. August 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Sean (insert middle name) Hayden, how very dare you even contemplate such a dreadful thing! Like, omg! Now, keep calm and carry on and if I ever hear that you are not doing so I’ll be on the next flight over to wag my finger at you in my best mother style.
    I’m sorry things are shitty, things often are, but you know what? They don’t stay that way forever. Take a little break and you climb right back up there on that writing horse (yes, of course there is one, his name is Horsey) and show us more of what that brilliant, sometimes warped mind of yours can come up with. Or else. Besides, it’s in your blood buddy, you can’t run and hide or it will find you and smite you down bahahahaha.
    We square now? Good. As you were 🙂
    *disclaimer* I am not Sean’s mother.
    x

    • August 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Hugs Katy. Thanks.
      No I will not give up. Just had a moment of self doubt so to speak.
      BTW It’s Patrick. Sean Patrick Hayden

  7. August 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Okay. Do you really want to know what I think? Of course you do. Here is where you are in this. It is an immediate gratification issue. Hear me out. In this business anything within a ten year span is instant, unless you find some of that luck you spoke of.

    Take me for example. I deal with this EVERY day with the publishing house. Every time I think I am making headway, someone kicks me. You mentioned self-publishing. I have nothing against it, unless it is at my expense. Know what I did yesterday? I spent the day in a stifling hot warehouse watching three men load books into a truck to be hauled away as remainders. Not a few books, we are talking about close to 60,000 books. Know why? Because a series of authors have signed on with my publishing house because they have “total faith” in me and want to support what I am doing and then they’ve given up. They have sold (individually) anywhere fro 10-100 books each after I printed 1500, 2000, and even a few at 5000. For those of you keeping score that is close to $200,000.00 in books that are currently going to shit.

    A few of them (okay 8 of them) have gone on to self publish leaving me with thousands of dollars worth of their books unsold and unwanted by them–and I have to ask here, why can they promote and market and work their asses off only when they are getting all the money? But when they have a contract with a publisher, they expect us to work all the miracles?–the rest of them have dropped off the face of the earth, several of them I NEVER heard from after their book was actually in production. So I am not big on quitters. Honestly, they PISS ME OFF!

    That said, I don’t imagine you as a quitter. I’ve seen your strength and I’ve seen your desire, and I think that once you realize that overnight in this business could mean a decade, you will be fine. You have the talent and the ambition–now you have to wrangle that self-discipline, get off the pity train, and get your ass back to work.

    Not a day goes by when I don’t wonder what the hell I am thinking and then I remember, I have authors like YOU and I know that this is what I was meant to do, no matter how many times the universe kicks my ass.

    My advice to you my dear friend, get down, get sad, get over it, and get back to work. I do it every day and I know you can too.

    And for the love of Pete and Mike, put one of MY book covers in your sidebar so people know you love my writing and go buy MY books.

    I do adore you and I am never too busy for you, so strike that one off your list.

    Hugs
    The Sunday Grumpy Publisher

    • August 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      Hops off the pity train 😉
      Thanks, Chief.
      With the way life has been going lately I’m letting it affect what I love. Will try not to in the future 😉 Hugs as always.
      PS. You know I’m all about the instant gratification, so you hit the nail on the head there. 😉

  8. August 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Karen is spot on about the instant gratification. Imagine what it’s like for a scientist who waits 30 years for results from their project. 10 years doesn’t seem so bad ;), and you’re already published.

    And, Karen, it’s good to get a glimpse of things from the publisher’s angle.

  9. August 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Well spoken Karen!!!!! Thank you!! Sean, I’ve been down a few times, similar what you’re going through right now. My obstacles were before my book was published. Yes Karen kicked my ass a few times and I’m grateful she did–she challenged me to show her I could be better, even when that wasn’t the point at all.
    It is VERY important, hell what am I saying? it is MOST important that you believe in your own work. I wouldn’t help you if I said “Sean you can do it,” Raise your nose high and be cocky about your work, be convinced that you are in your category, are the best author there is.
    One more thing, DO NOT look at other authors for being luckier than you, it will tear you up and draw you down in a pit-hole of self sorrow and defeat. You are Sean Hayden and your work is PERFECT and you should only feel sorry for those readers who have not yet discovered you, but don’t be sorry for yourself!!!

    –Martin Bartloff

    • August 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      YOu are a wise man Martin Bartloff. Just sayin. 😉

  10. August 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Hey Sean? I agree with all of the supportive comments above and I can see you have given them some thought.
    I just want to thank you for writing an open and honest post about your frustration. There are so many others who feel the same and appreciate your voice.
    I admire you for that voice as well. Your willingness to talk about yourself and your experiences have shown me your character is very strong. I know you will continue writing, I think you must but I wanted you to know that this blog and your worth as a person is appreciated! Hugs, Tammy

    • August 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Awwww. Thanks, Tammy. There are so many frustrated good writers. What i think is awesome is how many SUPPORTIVE frustrated good authors there are. If it weren’t for them i probably would have quit a long time ago.

  11. Anita Wakeham
    August 15, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Hello Sean.

    I know I’ve not been around in a while, my dad fell ill and sadly passed away only weeks ago.

    I just wanted to say to you, I’m not one that believe’s in luck, I believe in ones belief,desire and will, in that order, each drives the other pushing that will to manifest into ones reality, those “lucky” people have those things in abundance. We are what we think, our thoughts manifest into our reality, if one believe’s they cannot, then I doubt they ever will. Draw of the energies all around you and make them work for you and not against you. 😉

    Take care.

    Anita.

    • August 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

      I will, Anita. And heartfelt hugs on the loss of your father. If you need anything holler. 😦

      • Anita Wakeham
        August 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        Thank you Sean. 🙂

  12. August 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I’d like to direct you back to the first few lines of your August 7th post 🙂 Then tell you to not give up. I know how tough the agent search is. I’m still doing it. It sucks.

    I do think this industry takes a little luck, but guess what… you can create your own luck. 🙂 It’s called persistence and not giving up. For all those “I got lucky” stories out there from authors, there are ten more where the author just kept submitting. Those stories aren’t as interesting though, so they don’t get talked about as much.

    Have you read On Writing by Stephen King? He threw the MS for Carrie away in the middle of his publisher search he was so frustrated. His wife saved the MS and probably his career.

    Keep on keeping on! You’re a good writer. I’ll keep reading the things you write 🙂

    Julie

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