Monday, March 19, 2012

Perseverance on Paper

I've done blog posts before about my struggles with infertility, but I've been thinking a lot lately about the parallels between trying to have a baby and trying to get a book published.

In both cases, you do everything you possibly can to ensure the outcome you want:

-You decide you want to be published
-You write a book, you let your CP's hack it to pieces, you put it back together again to give yourself the best chance.
-Rinse, lather, and repeat with your query letter and synopsis.
-You send your book out into the agent world and hope someone somewhere in that sea of queries finds yours, falls madly in love with it, and elevates it from slush to published book

-You decide you want a baby
-You figure out your cycle, pee on ovulation sticks, take your temperature etc. to give yourself the best chance
-Rinse, lather and repeat each month
-You drag your spouse into the bedroom even when you're both exhausted and completely uninterested, in the hope that one bumbling sperm out of a billion will somehow find your egg, fertilize it, and make it become a baby

For some people, the journey through both processes is fairly easy and minimally bumpy. For others, one might be a lot easier than the other.

But I'm going to be blatantly honest when I say it gets extremely hard to fail at both simultaneously. There's a line in a Matchbox 20 song that says Sometimes you can still lose even if you really try, and I often feel like the personification of that line.

I've been trying to have a baby since 2008. Since then I've been through 3 specialists, numerous tests and procedures, 2 surgeries, and 2 heartbreaking miscarriages.

I've also been trying to get published since 2010. Since then I've written two manuscripts, been through numerous query rejections, 2 partial rejections, and 2 full rejections. I have a partial and 2 fulls out with ms #2, and those could very well end up rejections, too.

In both endeavors, I've come so close, but no cigar. And I'm not writing this post because I'm pregnant - I'm not - or because I got over the wall and I'm about to get published. No dice there, either. But I am writing it to say that the best way to ensure that neither of these things will happen is to give up trying.

I'm not even saying that giving up is a bad thing, if it's what a person needs to do to salvage their sanity. But I am saying that if you want something badly enough... you don't give up.

And I sure as hell have moments when I want to. But then I look at this:

Basically, these temperature charts are the last two years of my life on paper. Each sheet has 3 charts, and each chart represents one menstrual cycle.

Out of the 24 cycles represented on these pages, I was only able to get pregnant in ONE of them.
People around me have had two and three children in this amount of time. And you bet your ass it's discouraging.

BUT-  had  I not been trying, it probably wouldn't have happened at all. And yes, the pregnancy may have ended in miscarriage, but at least I know I can get there. Now, it's a matter of making it stick.

It's the same with writing.

There are only so many times you can get thisclose and watch people around you succeed with a fraction of the effort before you want to throw yourself on the ground and scream. To which I say, go right ahead. You've earned it.

But just because one person succeeds on cycle #2 or query #2 doesn't mean that another person can't succeed on cycle #200 or query #200. It just means that if you stop trying to get there, you never will.

So until you stop wanting it, never stop trying to get it.


  1. Oh, G. I can't empathize - on either level, really - and I just want to hug you.

    You're so, so right about this. I kind of know the feeling, and I've only been trying to publish for less than 6 months. Still, I've got one MS in the drawer, and one getting ready to join it. It's damn frustrating, and I'm honestly not sure how long I can hold on. But I know you will. And I'll be at your release party with bells on.

  2. I definitely see the parallel and the main lesson about keeping at something you truly want. I'm sure you've had your moments of wavering. I applaud your candor and will keep my fingers crossed for you. :D

  3. That was such an inspiring post! And you're so right, the only way to get what you really want is to not give up, unless you absolutely have to. Good luck with getting pregnant, and good luck with getting published!

  4. I like what you said about "the best way to ensure it will never happen is to stop trying". If we stop trying, then we definitely won't ever get published. Perseverance is key even when it gets really hard. Great post and good luck with everything!

  5. I've been learning a lot about perseverance as I've pursued this writing career. It can be so very discouraging and disheartening, but you're right: we need to keep going. Trying is so much better than not trying at all. Good luck with everything!

  6. G! You are inspiring. Sending hugs and good-luck sparkle dust. <3

  7. I've had two friends with infertility problems and it's so heartbreaking. One of them is now actually expecting a baby any day now and it's all because she kept trying even after three years of no success.

    You've got the right attitude, and I'm wishing you all the best!

  8. A few of my friend had trouble conceiving and it's just so SO hard and frusterating. I know few people understand how much despair is involved every month. Nothing I say can really help and I'm sure you've heard everything under the sun. But your feelings are totally normal. Express them however you can. there's no wrong way and giving up isn't the answer. You might go as far as giving up phsycially but your heart will never give up. Praying for you and hoping good things come your way soon!

  9. There's something for you on my blog :)

  10. I'd say I fully understand how you feel in both situations. I can't - one because I just haven't tried yet and the other because my situation differs from yours.

    You've done something I've been slightly afraid to do but hope to do soon: Try. Not just a little. But a lot. Giving it your all.

    And you're right. Your experience will be different. Mines will differ. But we'd never know if we didn't try.

    And I encourage you to keep both respects.

  11. This was such an inspirational post, one I find I can learn from and adopt in my own chosen path in life. I'm happy to hear you're not giving up, and I wish you all the luck in the world with both publishing your book and getting pregnant! You've certainly motivated me to do my best :-D

  12. Thanks for sharing your heart.Both situations are tough and I thank you for your honesty.

  13. Gina, I want to hug you, too.
    It seems so awfully, terribly unfair to watch people get so easily what we strive so hard to achieve ...

    I just hope you get rewarded tenfold.

  14. Gina, thank you for this post. I know it probably wasn't easy to write. But I just want you to know that you're a huge inspiration. Thank you for sharing :)


  15. I'm sorry you've had to go through all this, and I know it sounds cliche to say, but hang in there. Don't give up. Some people get there faster than others, but that doesn't mean you won't get there too. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for good news soon.