Hi. My name is Kate and I am a quitter.
Today's Road Trip prompt is supposed to be about how you know an idea or a project just isn't going to work out. But seeing as I've just started my second WIP, after revising the first one for months, I don't have a lot to say about giving up on a manuscript. I do, however, have plenty to say on the joys of knowing when to quit on a bigger idea.
|When you get married in college|
and change your last name, you
get to sit by your hubby at
graduation. True story.
I say this not to brag, but so you'll understand why I thought grad school was my logical next step. I'm good at academia. It made sense to stay there. Just one problem... I had no idea what I wanted to study. Somehow I managed to talk myself into Latin American Studies, applied to a bunch of schools, and accepted an offer at Vanderbilt.
|Hiking to stave off|
crippling depression. Also
My friends were scattered all over the globe, my family was far away, and the five or six people in my department were nice enough, but not exactly my speed. I developed a tic in one eye that still recurs when I'm stressed. I cried. A lot.
Miserable doesn't begin to cover it.
What's the point of this pity party? I succeeded in college by never giving up. No matter what, I muscled through (except for pottery, but that's not important, shh). Quitting was not allowed. So it was damn near impossible to give myself permission to quit grad school.
But I did it. And it's one of the best decisions I ever made.
Through the whole process-- applications, finding a house, moving-- I had ignored this feeling I get in my stomach. Have you ever seen a dog or a horse dig in its feet when it's being led? That's what it feels like: like my stomach doesn't want to accompany the rest of my body on whatever bad plan my brain has decided. I got it when we looked at a house recently, and it turned out someone was squatting on the property. I got it when we drove our 15-year-old Jeep to the Texas coast, and it broke down on the way home. I got it when my now-husband dated other people in high school (which was very confusing, btw, considering I was 17 at the time and not looking for matrimony).
I also get its opposite-- a feeling of pieces locking into place when things are moving in the right direction, like my internal organs are part of a puzzle. I had it about getting married, even though we were "too young." I had it about buying our house. I had it both times I got pregnant-- I knew before I took the test that it would be positive (and let me tell you, I took 18 months worth of tests with the first baby. "Knowing" I was pregnant was a dangerous feeling).
I have that feeling about writing.
It feels dangerous to say that, considering a) I'm in the middle of querying with nothing to show for my efforts so far, and b) I'm insanely superstitious. I know this MS might not be "the one," and that not everyone will have "the one." I think we can all agree that between grad school and publishing, grad school is the safer bet.
|Get over it. |
Go out with somebody else.
However, that means I have to listen when it says, "Yes, this is where you belong," even when rejections suggest I'm wrong. Just because it's right doesn't mean it will be easy (as author Elana Johnson proved yesterday). I don't regret my grad school "failures," because they've allowed me to recognize that feeling and decide when to muscle my way through-- and when to get over it and try something new.
Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.