4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
Do you remember how I planned to get 100 rejections? Like, by writing more and then sending that writing out into the world, heedless of the likely rejection (and all the just plain silences, by the way… why no reply, people? Reject me already!) I would be free. And maybe somebody somewhere would actually publish something I wrote. You know. For once.
So it seemed an appropriate time, six months in, to check up on my efforts, see where it’s gotten me.
And so I did do it, the writing and the rejections thing, sort of. And the first two pieces I sent out? Boom. And boom.
Which was misleading, to say the least. But still. Scary Mommy and Mamalode each put one of my pieces out there. And Mamalode accepted my second piece, too.
And in October a friend of mine sent me this nifty contest she’d seen with Mabel’s Labels. (Which by the way, Mabel’s Labels are the best thing ever. I once had a pair of size 2 black Bogs boots that were left on a field trip returned to my son’s cubby… Buy labels, people. Enough said.) The Mabel’s Labels people were looking for bloggers for their Mabelhood (an adorable parenting blog.) Who knows how many people entered, but I did. And they picked me! So, yes. Also, I got a year-long gig at Mabel’s Labels.
And I did spend November writing that novel (or at least the first 51,000 words.) My husband even got me a refurbished laptop with a polka dot cover so now I look like Carrie Bradshaw when I write.
Last week, someone who’s seen my writing here and there even asked me how to make a go at this blogging thing. And I pointed out that I really have no idea. I’m making enough money to afford my favorite tea (Tazo Passion, yum) while I’m sitting at my new computer avoiding writing.
It’s great to get acceptances. And sure, it still sucks a bit to get rejections. But the hardest thing remains, making time to put this writing thing first.
Yesterday, I was sending in my Mabelhood post and crafting an e-mail to the lovely editor on the other side who receives my posts and my son interrupted me. I replied something along the lines of, “Can you hold on for about three minutes while I finish this e-mail to my blog editor?” Which even my “blog editor” agreed was a pretty fancy title when I told her.
Then when I finally checked back in with my son, he asked if I ever get writer’s block. And I replied that I sort of do, but as I reflected on that NaNoWriMo month and the fairly regular posts on my actual blog (okay, maybe not so much these days, but go with it) and the very regular posts to the Mabelhood, I said that you just have to sit down and do it. You just have to trust that there’s something that you have to say.
I thought about how he’s doing this writing thing where he writes multiple story beginnings and then chooses one to flesh out and finish. He HATES this process. It feels like a colossal waste of time. Which I totally get. But I added that I thought sometimes we have to squeeze the massive, solid gunk of toothpaste off the top of the toothpaste tube in order to get to the usable stuff inside, that sometimes we write stuff we might throw away in order to get to something we’ll keep. Sometimes we just have to stick with it, even if it all seems like useless gunk.
I’m not so sure it made him feel any better, but it sure satisfied me. Because I have so many posts that were rejected or that I never finished or that no one ever replied to (what is your problem with replying to submissions, Motherlode?! Gees. Just reject me already!) And I have to believe that they’re all worth something. That I’m moving myself along.
The Notes App in my iPhone is littered with entries titled “Blog volunteering”, “Blog home”, “Blog jury duty” (you’re welcome for that one never fully coming to fruition) and about twenty things labeled simply “Blog.” There’s also “Book ideas” and of course, “Twitter ideas”, which is funny because I still haven’t gotten myself onto Twitter.
My son then asked me if I thought J.K. Rowling ever got writer’s block. And I had to ponder this for a second.
Because if I’m not mistaken, my son just compared my life as a writer with J.K. Rowling’s life as a writer. Seriously.
This is a long way of telling you that I will now share with you some of my pieces floating out there in the greater world. Check them out if you’re looking for something to read (especially the newest Mamalode piece, On Growing Up, because that’s how I get paid. Just click the link. You never even need to read it.)
Suffices to say, I haven’t reached 100 yet. But I wanted you to know, I’m still trying. And also, I just got favorably compared to J.K. Rowling by an eight-year-old boy. I’m just saying. Baby steps.
On Growing Up & Growing Older,
My favs from the Mabelhood: (BTW- Buy your labels at Mabel’s Labels, yo. Your kids’ Bogs will thank you. And I’m there twice a month, so follow their adorable blog if you’re looking for some nice reads.)
5 Tips For Getting Your Kids to Sleep In So You Can Too
You are so very talented and congrats on your new gig at Mabel’s! Thank you for the inspiration!!! I’m clicking so you can get more tea (and of course to read your brilliant writing) xxx
Jen, thanks for the reminders that we are all dealing with the same blocks, time management issues, and questions. Love this update on rejections and you are helping to give me a push and a dose of motivation again. (Kind of like a Flintstone vitamin). Not that I’ve stopped, but it gets easy to get distracted. So proud of the pieces you’ve published, which are amazing and awesome. Let’s all support each other on this journey that is writing, because it is fun and hard and deeply satisfying, and we just can’t live without doing it.
I love this! Trust that you have something to say!
A collection of Jen Groeber all wrapped up in one post? Fantastic! Congrats on such a successful year of writing. xo
Man can I relate! I feel like such a Loosah some days… I keep saying I’m going to put my work out there; I’m going to find an agent; I’m going to publish my novel, but alas… Here I sit. Not doing it. I LOVE that your sweet boy connects with you on writing… that, right there, is worth 2 published novels! You rock, and inspire me! xox