I am not a crier.
It wasn’t until senior year of college that my best friend and roommate of three years actually saw me cry. When it happened, she was in the middle of studying for a biology midterm, and I came in her room and, through tears, explained that the guy I’d been dating just broke up with me. Her eyes widened, shock painted across her face — not at the news I’d just shared but because oh my god, Dana was crying. She dropped her four-inch-thick textbook on the floor and beckoned me to her bed for a hug because clearly this was serious.
So, having said all that, my road to publication? It was — and continues to be — paved with tears. Some of those tears were happy tears (“I’m getting published! It’s actually happening!”), others were sad tears (“The agent of my dreams passed on my manuscript…sniffle, sniffle…”), and still others were tears of frustration (“My publisher is changing my title, and it’s really long, and why are they doing this to me???).
I wish I could blame the waterworks on pregnancy hormones, but I started sending out my manuscript in February 2011, and I just gave birth a month ago, so…you do the math.
No, in truth, I think I can attribute my crybaby ways to the publication process itself because honestly? Getting published is emotional, y’all. You’ve probably heard other writers call it a roller coaster. It is. Except on this roller coaster, the highs are like soaring to the moon and the lows are like crashing back down to earth and catching fire.
Here is what I’ve learned about getting published and crying:
(1) It’s okay to cry. No, I’ll go a step further: it’s necessary to cry. Bringing a book into the world is wonderful, stressful, frustrating and fulfilling all at once, and if you try to cage up all of the emotions that come along with the process, you’ll eventually explode. Crying is a release valve. Let it out. You’ll be glad you did — even if you’re not a crier.
(2) Find a shoulder to cry on. Yes, it’s a cliche, but writing is a solitary discipline, and as cathartic as a good cry can be, it’s important to have a support network to share in the good times and buoy your spirits in the bad ones. Whether it’s other writers or a spouse or family, find a sympathetic shoulder and use it.
So tell me, am I the only one who’s had a tear-filled writing experience? When is the last time you had a good cry?