Okay, Mr. Frost, I get there are two roads diverged in a yellow wood, but how am I suppose to choose? How do I know the road less traveled? Are there signs? I could really use a sign or a hint. I don’t think Waze or Google maps can help me on this one.
I think everyone, even non-writers, studied Robert Frost’s poetry at some point in their lives. His work is thought provoking, beautiful, and poignant. Of late, it’s been in my mind a lot, as I suppose it crosses all writers’ brains at one time or another. Today, I’m annoyed with Mr. Frost. I know what you are thinking? How can I be annoyed by the words of a long dead poet? Maybe it’s because I’m frustrated with submissions and queries. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t born with and have never learned the fine art of patience. Maybe it’s because I find myself terrified no one will like my book. Maybe it’s because I need more sleep. Or, perhaps, it’s just because it’s Tuesday.
It’s easy to look back on the great literary classic authors and feel like they had it all figured out. Then, I generally remind myself, the term and stereotype of the starving artist is rooted in truth. truth.
Choice. Decision-making. It amazes me how I can, with great confidence and capability, make decisions everyday which affect the lives of others. Yet, when it comes to my own life, I find myself stuck at the crossroads asking the devil for directions. Hyperbole aside, I wish I could blame it on my sign, libra. But whether it was because I was born under a specific star sign or because it’s a product of my core DNA, I hate making choices. Change scares me.
Then again, I remind myself, it is the moments I have been strong enough to choose a path, that I grew and blossomed and thrived. Choice. It really does make all the difference. Maybe, I should give Mr. Frost a break. It’s not his fault, I don’t know which road to walk.
What am I blabbering about? The choice to self publish or continue waiting for a traditional publisher to say, ‘yes.’ I had a plan. I have a plan. Send out my book to several simultaneously accepting publishers and wait six months. It’s been almost four. Remember what I said before, patience. I suck at it. Even then, the next step was to, or maybe still is, to send out to a list of non-simultaneous accepting publishers, one at a time (thus waiting another six months). Then, if all else failed, self publish. Do I keep on the path I’ve chosen?
People keep asking me, what do I consider success. My answer evolves with time. Right now, I measure success by reaching readers and having people read my novel. That is, people I’m not friends with or related too.
What do I do? What do I DO? Listen to my heart. Listen to the advice of others who have been where I am right now. Look and observe the mistakes and triumphs of others and learn as much as possible. And breathing. I probably should remember to breath, lest I find myself going “gently into that good night” and giving up on my dream.
No matter what, I can’t give up. You can’t give up. I know it will be worth it. The pain and stress and tears will pay off. If you want something bad enough, you find a way, you figure out the path. So, I remind myself, I am not at a crossroads. I am already on the path less traveled. I have to decide, now, to pick my feet up, one after another, and walk. Keep walking. Even if I stumble, even if I trip, come broken legs and heart and all, I walk. I forge through the fires.