Sunday, January 24, 2010

Am I Allowed to Talk About This?

by Leann

Agatha teapot It's awards season. Yipee! The time of year when I know one thing for sure: my name will not be appearing anywhere on any list for anything. There was a time when I was naive enough to think I might have a chance at a nomination for SOMETHING. Dogcatcher, maybe? But no more. I don't even make excuses. I accept this as predictable. Sales are good, readers send me e-mails saying they love my books, and I have lots of writer friends. That's enough for me.

Okay. I'm lying. Who doesn't want to be recognized for their hard work? But what's nice about this business is that when my friends get nominated, I'm happy for them. Genuinely happy. I don't feel envious, perhaps because this isn't really a competition. This is a job. And having made lots of friends with writers over the years, I wish them all the very best. A prize would be nice, but not necessarily required.

Funny, but what bothers me more than my lack of being noticed is a nasty review on Amazon. And I don't get angry, I feel hurt. It's quite personal when someone on a public forum says "this is a silly Ugly baby book" after you've spent a year of your life working on it. It's kind of like someone looking into your stroller and saying "Your baby is really, really ugly." Ouch. And yet, this is a part of the business, too. If folks dole out good money for a book and find it silly, I guess they can shout that from the rooftops. And I need to accept that and move on. Most times I do after enjoying at least a small pity party with good friends who understand. (But there are a couple of rejections that will sting forever.)

A major award What do these things have in common? I cannot control them. We all struggle with that issue in one way or another. If only the entire world did exactly as I wished, then all problems would be solved. Pretty narcissistic, huh? Yup. So I'm back to that awards thing. I need to let go of my longing to be recognized for a job well done. It doesn't affect the way I write. My stories are uniquely mine. I couldn't write a book believing I'd win an award if I did this or I did that even if I tried. Creativity doesn't work that way. And you know what? I think that's a good thing.

What about you? Is there something you long for that you know you'll never get? And how do you handle it? I'd love to know!

PS: I long for my daughter and son-in-law to have a baby, but that probably won't happen either. Out of my control--as it should be.