Today we are very fortunate to have sci-fi and fantasy novelist Ava Jae speak to us about the writing life. A big thank you again to Ava for her contribution.
Nearly two years ago I forced myself to answer a pretty difficult question: would I continue to write if I knew I’d never get published? It was a question I’d been avoiding for a while, a question I’d come across several times and refused to even consider. Because the truth is, when I first saw it floating around, I honestly wasn’t sure.
I didn’t have an agent. I’d never even had a request from a publishing professional to look at a full manuscript of mine and I’d entered and left the query trenches empty-handed several times over. The thought of never getting published was so close and real to me and I knew it was a legitimate possibility. I wondered if I’d spent all those years and all that energy in creating now-trunked manuscripts for nothing. I wondered if maybe I was wasting my time and setting myself up for more disappointment. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t care.
Sure, not getting published ever would be disappointing, but did that lessen my passion for writing? Did that make writing novels and creating new worlds and falling in love with characters that came from my mind any less enjoyable? Not one bit. I write because I love it. Because even when I’m not writing I’m creating characters and stories in my mind. Because every book I write is a new adventure, a new chance to see the world from someone else’s eyes, to see new worlds. I never consider any writing that I do a waste because I truly and honestly believe that you learn something from everything you write—whether it’s an essay for school, a manuscript that you put away or a blog post.
But that doesn’t mean writing is easy and it certainly doesn’t mean that the life of a writer is for everyone. The life of the writer is tough and the life of the writer seeking publication is even tougher. There are so many highs and lows, so much waiting and rejection and disappointment and it’s hard, it’s so hard to spend months upon months—or even years—on something that you may have to eventually put away and move on without. And it’s up to the individual to decide if the struggle and pain is worth it. It’s ok to decide that it’s not the right road for you—it doesn’t make you a failure in the slightest.
But for others, writing is the dream. It’s the thing you look forward to, the thing that’s always there, the thing that you never tire of going back to. And if that’s the case for you, I suspect the hard stuff is worth it for you, too.
Ava Jae is a writer, artist and movie lover represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. You can find her weekly musings on her blog Writability, follow her on Twitter and tumblr or like her Facebook page.