Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ann Through The Magnifying Glass

With her eloquent and uncommonly usual good sense, Diana refutes the commonly held belief that you need to know someone, sleep with someone, or be a celebrity to get published.

Sheesh. Every writer I know--and I know alot--is an unknown schlepp who wanted to write, so she joined a writer's group, wrote, submitted, got rejected, wrote again, and kept on submitting until she sold. Why is this so unbelievable to some people? Is it because it involves hard work and concrete perseverance?

I think maybe it is. Writers and other artists aren't commonly thought of as savvy business people. They're thought of as dreamy, flakey, quixotic and eccentric. I'm not saying we aren't all those things *gg* but unless there's steel under those magnolias, we ain't going anywhere fast.

I read a really good quote the other day but can't remember where. It had to do with money (success) and how it doesn't change people, rather it frees them to release more of their true nature.

I wonder if this happens with writers and artists. Once we achieve a certain level of success, are we then freer to display the dreamier, flakier, quixoticer and eccentricer parts of our personalities? And if so, is that why we're generally perceived that way?

Personally, I'm much more willing to display my personal habits now that I'm published. It's like now I have justification for the naps, the unfocused gazing, the incoherent mumbling and inability to concentrate on what's happening in the room. In some ways it seems those "flaws" have been magnified in my personality because now I'm more free to indulge them and less embarrassed to be caught at it. But in reality, they were there all along.

In being so open about myself, am I unwittingly endorsing the stereotype of the flakey artiste, when, in fact, it took a shirtload of hard labor just to get this far?

What about you? Has your truer self been magnified? Do you think it's a good thing, or a bad thing?

Did you sleep with someone to get published? Or did you do it the other old-fashioned-working-girl way? Let's dish.


Blogger Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

Definitely the old-fashioned way, Ann. :-) Years of writing and submitting and waiting and getting rejections and feel-sorry-for-myself cry sessions and monumental chocolate binges and then back to more writing and submitting and w-a-i-t-i-n-g and…

If you can make it through the repetitions of the above without giving up, I believe it really does make a writer better, stronger, and increases the chances for eventual publishing success. Most rejections I received were the standard 2-line sorry-not-right-for-us-at-this-time song and dance, which is why I treasured the letters from editors who were kind enough to take the time to give me an actual explanation and constructive suggestions to improve my work. I kept writing and honing and gaining confidence as I could feel my writing progress to a different level. And when the time was right, the success came.

Now, as for the true self emerging--LOL--it’s always been out there for the world to see, much to my chagrin at times. I’ve always been a bit outside of the norm…never quite fit in with everybody else (and still don’t), although I got very good at pretending over the years. For me, it’s more age than publishing success that’s brought me to the point where I enjoy more freedom now just being me, with all the quirkiness that comes along with it. Basically, I just got tired of being so concerned with what everybody else thought and simply decided to like and accept myself. Good decision! :-D What publishing success has given me is a kind of validation--as in validating that I’m a tad nutty, but it’s okay for a creative person to be looney-tunes as long as they’re earning money because of it. LOL

February 01, 2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

**but it’s okay for a creative person to be looney-tunes as long as they’re earning money because of it. LOL**

Exactly. That's one big reason I'm not embarrassed to be caught being strange anymore *gg*. Particularly around the husband. He's definitely calmer about my oddities now that I'm making money off them.

But you're right about the age thing too. There was a definite shift in perspective once I hit the forties. "So What?" is my answer to most of life's dilemma's anymore. And yes, I was always kinda on the outside too, and I also learned to pretend to be normal. I was never really any good at it, though, and people always saw right through me.

Gotta get myself some dumber friends ;)

February 01, 2006 2:10 PM  

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