Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Round, Round, and Round Again

I sometimes like to think of writing towards publication as a giant carousel. We determine we want to board the ride, do so, and before we get off again (if at all,) we try out different animals on it.

There is the cycle of initially writing down a story. The even longer beast of revising and editing the story. Rounds of beta reading and critiquing. Usually several turns with querying, both in writing the query letter and then in sending it off to agents and publishers. Then we get back on that revision beast again. We board the rounds of marketing and social networking also. It's a dizzying analogy.

It can be overwhelming and daunting at times. The carousel is bright and shiny on the outside and everyone already on it looks like they're having a great time. We see the people who have claimed the biggest and best animals on it and want to know what it feels like. What we don't see from the outside, is how long it can take to get to one of those prize animals, nor the grit, grease, and squeaks surrounding other parts of the carousel. The music being played is loud. The voices on board are also. There is an excitement in the air, so much so, that we don't see or regard the individuals who sag on their mounts or the ones who get off and trudge away alone. We tend to ignore the people on board who are standing between the animals, waiting for a turn to get on one, or who are perplexed as to which animal is right for them.

Once on board one of the brightly colored carousel beasts, we hang onto the pole, feel the lurch as the machine begins, and gaze around at our neighbors with tentative grins. We don't know if the person next to us is secretly wanting to knock us down or if we'll become fast friends. We don't know how long the beast we're now sitting on will be ours. We may be stuck on that gawky revision giraffe or that ugly querying rhinoceros for years! During the pauses, we see some of the people get up and switch mounts. Some move closer to the bright, newer, animals of the carousel. Some move back to the older, dingier ones. Many stay put where they are. Some of us choose the wrong animal to mount and then wonder what happened when we slip off, get in trouble from other riders and the carousel officials, or the painted beastie doesn't move properly.

It's easy to feel lost at times, stuck, and certainly dizzy. We might have to lean over the side, not visible to the public eye, and vomit.

There are only so many seats on that massive carousel. Even fewer of the coveted mounts. We may need to step down and wait in line again to ride it. We might even take off for other parts of the amusement park to try out another ride before we give the carousel another go.

For anyone feeling a bit dizzy or bewildered with the whole writing-publishing carousel, take heart. Don't do more than you can handle. Don't overtax yourself. Certainly never compare yourself to any of the other riders or people waiting in line. Take a break and try something else for awhile if you feel sick or burned out. Avoid the danger of staying on the same carousel animal because it's your favorite or you've gotten used to it or you're afraid to try something else. Don't resent other riders who have moved on to a position you covet. Be patient. Be courteous. And remember, there is more to life than that carousel. Make sure you're still living and experiencing, and growing in other ways.

That white-water rafting ride looks like fun too.

Think about where you are at right now on the writing-publishing carousel. What is your animal and what does it look like? Or do you feel you're standing and waiting in line?


  1. A gargoyle. It looks like a gargoyle. Hardly anyone rides it, so I can leave it, ride other rides (the white water is fun, but the spook house is a lot more), but it keeps calling me back, and every time, it changes just a little. Sometimes I hang onto the brass poles and just look at it and watch the other riders. Funny, some are almost always here, changing animals, moving up, moving down, just switching, and some you only see ride a little bit. Me, I stand in line but just to get back on the ride, even if it's going in circles.

  2. Nice analogy, very fitting. I feel like I've been in line forever. It's a good thing to be persistent, but you have to remember to take in the view.

  3. I really like this Joyce! I can picture myself on the dragon, but the motor doesn't work cause there are a few parts that just don't go. I jumped off a few times riding a centaur, but it stopped working too. I had to get off and ride the loop-de-loop roller coaster for a while. I'm back though, waiting to get on again. I'm determined to get that dragon to move, I will fix its parts. ;) So where are you?

  4. A gargoyle--I love that!

    E.M., I'm standing between animals right now. I'm either going to do another brief stint on the giraffe before trying out the rhinoceros, or I'm going to succumb to the griffin aways back and do something completely new.