Pages

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Setbacks (Jan Blazanin)

Spring came early to Iowa this year. Daffodils were blooming in mid-March, lilacs in early April, and my asparagus popped out of the ground weeks before it normally does. The unseasonable warmth was a welcome change from the cold, blustery weather we usually get. But as the trees leafed out and tender plants sprang up before their time, I felt uneasy. Blooming too early can lead to disaster.

The past two nights the temperature dipped to 28 degrees. Although I had covered what I could, protecting all the plants on our 11 acres was impossible. The perennial trees, bushes, and flowers won’t die, but they suffered a major setback they may not recover from until next year.

Setbacks are as familiar to writers as April frosts are to Iowans. The editor who was intrigued by a query letter rejects the manuscript in an eye blink. The publishing house that seemed like the perfect fit for a project—wasn’t. Contracts fall through, pub dates are pushed back months or even years, editors move houses and leave authors stranded while their books are in production. When the book does come out, there are nasty reviews, poorer than expected sales, and book signings where Mom and our best friend are the only people who show up.

It’s a wonder we’re not bald from ripping our hair out in frustration.

To cope with all these setbacks authors need more than the “normal” amount of tenacity or persistence or plain old craziness. Chocolate, wine, and long naps are some ways to deal. Another is to find a support network of authors like my writing group and my YA Outside The Lines pals who’ve been there, done that, and provide a safe haven to whine, vent, and commiserate. When the frost melts away and spring is here for sure, other writers are the ones who truly understand just how long and harsh the winter was.


9 comments:

  1. Those late frosts are always hard. But summer's coming if we just hold on... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes those are the cruelest times ... you have the long-coveted item in your hand and then it slips, or is snatched away.
    But I have seen so many people come back from those setbacks. I tell myself they are just part of the journey--as they are for our characters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Setbacks make us stronger. If only they weren't so painful!

      Delete
  3. Long naps are definitely helpful; it's nice to wake up from a good nap feeling refreshed. I read or heard somewhere about how it's too bad that adults don't get to take naps at work like kindergarteners do at school, and I agree, because I think it would make the workday easier. And good friends who are there for you are even better, because then it makes you feel like you're not the only one who feels that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could never sleep when they rolled out those mats in kindergarten. Naps are wasted on the young!

      Delete
  4. My magnolia had just bloomed to perfection and Boom! everything was brown and frozen. :( I agree--there are reasons for not blooming too quick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so sad. The same thing happened to my butterfly bush. I can't bear to look at it now.

      Delete
  5. It's so tough to go through those setbacks...But it's always SO good to know that all writers go through the same thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Without my writing group I would have given up a long time ago.

      Delete