August 2023 Art Update: Musing on Body Pain and Publishing

horned woman holding a flower on gold background

Cerise dressed as Ana Baba :)

Man, I'm tired.

I am reluctant to label what I've been dealing with for the last eight (8!!) months "chronic pain", as I'm still expecting it to pass eventually, but for the time being that is more or less what I'm experiencing. It's exhausting. I'm exhausted.

People with chronic pain talk about this all the time, and I always thought I understood, at least intellectually, what a drain it would be to have constant, unending pain. But even with the best of intentions, I don't think it's something anyone can really grasp until they're there.

Every day I think about my pain, and every time I move my arms a little too far or bend my back a little strangely, I'm immediately terrified that I've prolonged my injury again. I'm making a progress getting back into creative work despite the pain, but it's still there. It's impossible to keep sitting on my hands doing nothing for months on end though; I was losing my mind.

I've also been thinking about books and publishing a lot lately. In 2021 I spent a lot of time and energy on queries. I wrote a second and third manuscript unrelated to my first to have more options to query. I had a spreadsheet for agents. I rewrote my query letter a million times. Then I burned out horribly and stopped submitting or writing for the bulk of 2022. I never finished editing that second and third manuscript.

I've always, always wanted to be traditionally published. I was a bookstore and library kid. I want my writing to reach kids the way those books used to reach me. I've never wanted to run my own business or have a Brand.

The latter of those isn't an option anymore, trad or self-pub.

The pros and cons list between self-pub and trad pub is still heavily weighted towards trad, especially for me as someone who is never going to be prolific enough to put out like 10 books in a year. That is an incredible skill that I simply do not have.

Unfortunately, trad publishing is both the world's longest waiting game and also gambling with some of the worst odds. How long do you wait before you decide maybe it's worth just puttings things out on your own? Five years? Ten years? Thirty years?

I'm not really sure yet. I want to try to query traditionally again before I pivot, but it'll be sooner than thirty years.

The common advice for artists is, "just make work for youself! Don't think about the audience!", and I do try. I will keep writing about anxious, sad girls until the day I die, whatever that says about me. But I think it's human nature to want other people to see--and read--the things you've created. Even before social media existed in the way it does now it was difficult to write into a void. People form writing groups for a reason. Not much feels better than exchanging little details about your worlds and characters.

We care so much about other people's characters. How could you possibly not want people to care about your own? To at least have the chance to see the world you've poured yourself into in motion on a page?

All of this is to say, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my work in the future forever. I am mildly interested in putting together a newsletter in case anyone wants to sign up for future writing updates. I currently don't HAVE any writing updates to put into a newsletter, but in an ideal world you'd have a couple people to send emails to before you need to actually send the emails.

For now though, I'll leave it at that. Please enjoy some flowers and a looooooong dragon.

woman in red and blue is surrounded by a massive, golden wyrm

Mihra and the wyrm

drawing of pink, wild roses on black background

Wild Roses

Last Edited: 8.20.2023 | Return to Blog Index