4.05.2006

Thoughts on Calling - One

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, 'I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?' (Nehemiah 6:3 KJV).

I'm losing my mojo. As soon as I typed the last word, sipped my warm Guinness and pushed away from my computer, I felt it leave me. That was a month or two ago, when I finished my first novel. Fat and happy, I was. Now I'm just fat. And ever since I've kinda meandered... from project to project... blog to blog... without purpose.

Some people feel "called" to write, and right now I'm not sure I'm one of them. Called? What exactly does that mean? Called to write? Now I'm even more confused. Is that like "called to preach" or "called to die for the tribe"?

Really, this blasted second-guessing started when I began my Proposal. Non-writers are in the dark about two things: (1) Good writing is damn hard work, and (2) Getting published is serious business. So I spent a year in this warm literary cocoon, enveloped by cyber-friends, outlines and (worst of all) my own thoughts. But, lo and behold, from the primordial grey matter, a story evolved. A decent story. Not The Breakout Novel, but above average. I think.

So I heave a great sigh, reacquaint myself with family and take a break from writing. But all the while someone is whispering in my ear. Psst. Mike. You're not done. "Whaddya mean, I'm not done? A full year of writing and research and re-writing and -- Hey. Who is this, anyway?" Psst. Mike. Now you have to sell it. "Is this the devil?"

So I kiss my wife goodbye, crack my knuckles, and turn to Proposal Writing 101. By the first paragragh I realize I will loathe this. Writing, I like. Selling, I don't. Comparative Titles and Selling Points and Market Trends and Author Endorsements? And this is just to get an agent to glance your way. Egads! So here I sit, wilted; trying to kick-start a once humming engine. Was I called to this -- to teeth-whitened sales pitches, trend analysis and portfolio packing? Characters, stakes and sub-plots, I get. But who tossed head-shots and handshakes into the mix? I've stalled in the fast lane and, in my neighborhood, nobody stops for you.

Now my mojo's gone, the wall is still in ruins, and my calling is questionable. Another Guinness, bartender. And oh, by the way, my first novel has collected that first thin layer of virgin dust.

More...

11 comments:

Dineen A. Miller said...

Ok, guzzle down that beer and get to work! LOL! We're waiting for Mike Duran's great novel. Get it out there, buddy. Blow the dust off and send out those proposals. Have I kicked you hard enough? ;-) All in Christ's love...

Gina Holmes said...

No one likes to do them, Mike. You've got a good novel. Write the proposal and start mailing her out, so you can get to work on the next one.

You're a lot more realistic than I was after writing my first novel. There is no way you're not going to get a novel published if you keep at it. You're too talented and intelligent.

I think what you have is a great product. Eat your veggies so you can have dessert!

Kelly Klepfer said...

Try light Guinness.

Slam your head on your keyboard twice.

If that doesn't work - go to a conference and be shameless. I'm sure you can pick up some shameless techniques somewhere.

I thought you had a new idea, a book in progress and all that jazz.

Mike Duran said...

They say a kick in the butt is a step forward. Thanks for the, uh, step forward, girls. Guess I'll turn off the music (70's rock), disband the pity party and finish the darned Proposal.

Yours Truly said...

Or, you could side with Dickinson.

"Publication—is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man—"

Noel

Janet Rubin said...

Oh Mike, How depressing. You're making me really want to take my time writing my novel so I don't have to do that part!
Gina is right though (as usual). Think of it this way: is it really right to deprive the good people of planet earth of the masterful writing of Mike Duran? I mean it just wouldn't be fair to not put that novel out there!

Ame said...

So . . . are ya gonna run the whole marathon just to sit down 100 yards from the finish line and debate whether you really want to finish the race???!!! You must be driving your wife NUTS!!!

Mike Duran said...

All right already.

Ame said...

Mike . . . I think you just wanted a bunch of women to tell you how great you are! HAHAHAHAHA

Sandy Cathcart said...

Hey Mike.

Suck it up and get to a good writers conference. Practice a two-minute spiel. I think you won't have any trouble getting an agent if you plan it right. Try Janet Kabobel Grant or Steve Laube. I think you might do well with either one of them.

Another thought is to start with a one page proposal. I got my first agent by doing several of those and letting him tell me which project to concentrate on first.

My current agent is writing my proposals for me because I'm so lousy at it.

So! There's hope!

Oh . . . and about calling . . . you are defintely one talented guy, so whether you're called or not, you have to write, because to do otherwise would be to hide your gift under . . . but hey! You're already sharing right here! So keep it up already.

siouxsiepoet said...

mike, you speak my soul here. i'm sinking in the same mire, but determining not to pull myself out. strangely enough.

i'm not going to do the traditional publishing thing. the proposal thing, the shmoozing thing. i'm just going to keep doing what i do and trust God with it all. will this make me rich? doubtful? will this make me popular? nope. do i care either way? not really. but i just can't sell myself. i'm not into it. i've no desire to sell anything to anyone. that is perhaps my greatest flaw, that i'm not so fond of my own stuff that i'll peddle it to anyone that passes by.

self publishing looks so good to me now. i believe God can bless mustard seeds.

suz