Friday, October 10, 2014
Author Masks by Sydney Salter
I like this cartoon because it reminds me of the AUTHOR masks I often wear.
I sort of wish that I'd kept track of the number of times I've been asked to locate the bathroom for a bookstore patron versus the number of books I've signed. Books are winning, but not by as much as I'd like. Yet, I smile through every lonely signing, trying to manage that balance between friendly and desperate. Maybe I should bring a puppy? Candy obviously isn't working.
And I hate myself every time I avoid a fellow author's smiling mask at a bookstore signing.
The Things Are Good Mask appears when I run into acquaintances who know that I write, but don't hear the nitty gritty daily details. Happily--and inevitably--they ask, "How is your writing going?"No matter what, I smile and nod, "Good. Good."
Sometimes a litany of all that is NOT good runs through my head, manuscripts submitted and ignored, rejection letters received, chapters deleted, rewrites rewritten, doubt, doubt, and more doubt.
But I also feel weird about going into specifics about the good stuff. I wrote a kickass paragraph yesterday. A teenager wrote me a really cute email. I finally solved the issue with Chapter Six. Someone that I don't know wrote an awesome Amazon review. I got a good rejection letter. Maybe I think it all sounds too small. And no one except a fellow writer understands the paradox of good rejection.
The You've Got Four Published Novels Mask makes me feel the most guilty. "I know, I know." I nod and smile. But inside I'm always thinking of the fat yet-to-be published manuscripts padding my file cabinet. I want those published too--and the next one and the next one and the next one that I write.
Many wonderful writers I know are still waiting for that first book contract, and I remember how that eager ambition feels (because I'm not sure that feeling changes so much after publication). So I smile my Grateful Author Mask and encourage the pre-published to keep writing!
Yes, I've had some success as an author, but I want more.
Watch out puppies!