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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Pamela Ridley

Righting Writing Insecurity or Color Me Green

Since I began writing consistently fourteen years ago, many blessings have come my way. The good folks at Genesis Press paid me (not a whole lot, mind you, and rarely on time) but paid me for the privilege of printing a novel I wrote and then they encouraged stores to sell it. They’ve done that three times in the past four years. Dream come true? Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. Being published has got to be the first rung on a writer’s ladder to success.

Nevertheless, sometimes when I’m checking out various book sites, or participating on Facebook, or reading posts on a couple of discussion groups I subscribe to, I learn that someone who began writing around the same time I did has “blown up.” If you don’t recognize the vernacular, it means she or he has gained (gasp!) the notoriety that I so sorely want. They have it. I don’t—not yet anyway. I instantly feel “less than” and that sucks.

Perhaps they have signed with a big name publisher, or have gathered accolades via awards or contest wins. I read briefly then click away needing to suppress my feelings of inadequacy as I struggle to prevent them from morphing into jealousy, resentment, and despair.

Am I the only sick one out here or can any of my fellow writers relate??

“Are my cohorts who have 'arrived' more talented?” I ask myself. Some are, some aren’t; some are equally talented or less so.

“Are they more driven?” Probably. They probably work harder sustaining an Internet presence, or by going to conventions, or by associating with people who are in a position to help them get noticed. Some, no doubt, have advanced degrees in SMO (Social Media Optimization). I’m not anti-networking, I’m just generally more comfortable in a small circle of writing buddies and close friends. But, I’m trying to reach out more.

“Are my cohorts luckier?” Could be. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for being in the right place and knowing the right people and last but never least, having a good or sell-able (if not great) product. I’m convinced that these are the three ingredients that magically convert into luck.

God bless these writers who forge ahead. Because my negative feelings are always temporary, I sincerely wish them continued success. I plan to stick around long enough to learn from them.

Did I mention that Black Expressions picked up Another Memory? I’m encouraged by that. Maybe I’m on the second rung on that ladder to success.

Luckily for me, there are always “what if” situations in my head that need to be sorted out into stories, so I’m going to write regardless of which rung I land on. What about you?


Lisa said...

Hi Pam,

It's hard not to feel some envy when other writers make it big. After all, we're human and we're all after the same thing.

Gone are the days when a writer wrote, whipped it off to her editor, editor polished it up and the publisher did the rest. Writing has become more than writing. It's become promoting too, and that's something that surely must come with time. Especially if you aren't a very assertive person.

All part of the process I guess. Not easy, but oh so worth it when it does come together!

Pam said...

Hi Lisa!

I know, a little envy is only an expression of my flawed humanity, so I don't get too down on myself about it. Thanks for understanding.

I agree about the additional layers in the publishing process that didn't used to be there for some, but they've been in place since I've been writing. And yes, what's required for getting published today makes for a whole other process separate from pouring your heart and soul into writing a story.

Hmm, maybe that's what agents are for--to help ease that second process.