I love roller coasters. At least, I used to. I don’t think I’ve been on one since our family vacation to California in 2003. (Oh, adulthood.) But I love the rush. I love the sound of the harnesses as they clank into place, and the click-clack of the wheels as the car gets pulled up to the pinnacle. I love the speed and the wind in my hair and going upside down.
I do not love emotional roller coasters. I’d like my emotions to rise and fall in a gentle, easing manner. No sudden peaks or dips, thank you.
No one told me what an emotional roller coaster the writing life would be. Most of the time, the writer’s life is completely humdrum. There is not much going on. You’re waiting and writing and waiting some more.
Then, when you least expect it, a giant high comes. You’re skyrocketed into elation with the request of materials from someone or by the sight of your cover art. You are quite literally the king of the world.
And that feeling lasts a day. Maybe two at most. You look around and realize that everyone else who liked your post about it has gone back to their own life, and you’re left still smiling all by yourself. You shove your hands back in your pockets so you won’t look like Tom Brady getting shunned from getting a high five. Then you’re back on plain, smooth, boring road of waiting and writing.
And sometimes, out of nowhere, you get the dreaded No email. Your day was going fine, until you see the words, “Thank you, but at this time…” You get the free-falling feeling in your stomach as the bottom drops out. This feeling always lasts longer than the high feeling, unless something comes along to sweep you back into the high. Otherwise you free fall until you wake up a few days later and realize you aren’t falling anymore. Then it’s a slow climb back up the the plain, boring road of waiting and writing.
This is the journey a writer must embrace. Does it sound like it’s bad news? Here’s why it’s not: every single writer has gone through it. You’re not alone. It’s a right of passage.
So grab a brown bag, if you’re prone to motion-sickness. We’re writers. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve wanted to do our whole lives.
Enjoy the ride.