This week I decided to move on from my personal Wee-Boo*. But before I talk about the ‘moving on’ part, I think I should just flesh out what this is.
The Wee-Boo is the plaintive cry of the ‘poor me’ mini-troll that lives inside me and insists on meeping on about how misunderstood I am, how alone, how unloved, how neglected and rejected and kinda pathetic and and…
The Wee-Boo starts as a meep from the internal mini-troll but can quickly become a loud and overwhelming roar.
Lately, since I’ve been happy and content with life, it’s decided to have a go at my creative endeavours. And boy, has it enjoyed sinking its teeth into self-publishing.
Starting with the tangy hors d’oeuvre of not finding a local publisher, to really savouring the main meal of 70-odd-agent-rejections tartare, to this new treat: the bitter-sweet dessert of making sales (yay!) but not hearing anything back from anyone who reads it** or worse hearing something (‘started reading, love it’ messages), then nothing…
My personal favourite so far is a reader in the wild who gave me a glowing written review – SO RARE – and five (FIVE) stars on GoodReads, only to apparently have a peevish moment, delete the review and change the five stars to one. Thanks for that asshole.
Happily, I think we’re onto the after-dinner mint on this particular cycle, and here the Wee-Boo troll is enjoying the fact that when someone other than a friend mentions my book to me it’s only so that I can placate them about not reading it.
‘No no, really it’s okay,’ I say when they mention not getting round to it/time/bigness of book/life getting in the way. ‘You don’t have to read it. Really. Please don’t worry. Yes it is a lot. Please don’t worry about reading it–’ Oh my god please you’re killing me here. ‘–who has the time or energy, right? Please, it’s no biggie.’
I fear I have a written a dud that I have mistaken as something only because I love it so. Like some tragic fairy tale heroine who nurses a baby for years only to wake one morning and realise it’s actually a stone.
And of course, the WeeBoo troll loves this: Maybe there’s a reason no agent or publisher wanted it? Ever think of that wise-ass?
Hmm nom nom.
Then this week, a tweet from a new author went viral…
She got comments and encouragement from e.ve.ry.one including Stephen King and Margaret Atwood and it was incredibly heart-warming and gentle and generous and a huge reminder that dud or no, I still have to pay my dues. Dud or no, I’m not the only one feeling these Wee-Boo feelings and I’m not the only author in world to want or struggle to find a readership. Dud or no, there is a lot bombarding people: content, news, life events, stuff stuff and more stuff. And ultimately, dud or no, one book does not a novelist make.
To wit: I’m done with the Wee-Boo. I’ve done all the therapising work to deal with its origin and the worst of its consequences the rest is now just old patterning. It’s small-minded, self-pitying, self-aggrandising, ungrateful, a waste of energy and short-sighted. Worse: it’s boring.
While I’m unlikely to win the war against this age-old instinct (at least not alone), I can certainly walk away and give something altogether more generative a chance: a new mindset. Which is why I’m going to be committing again to The Artist’s Way.
I shared this idea on Instagram and was delighted to hear that there was clearly something in the air and that others had also started pulling out their AW to begin the journey for the first or second time. I suggested maybe doing this togetherish and some people said this would be nice.
So here this is. A start at doing this togetherish. Here’s what that means.
Doing Artist’s Way togetherish
The Artist’s Way comprises 12 sections or ‘weeks’. I am certainly not going to be able to complete one section a week, so I’m giving myself two weeks per section starting from Monday 2 January.
I will post an intro post at the start of each section and any subsequent experiences related to that section as comments into the comments section.
Here’s where the togetherish bit comes in.
We all lead full and demanding lives, when and how you choose to dip into the week’s section is up to you. I’m not a facilitator, no one is here to ‘keep you accountable’, and since this is a public, free meeting point, nothing is going anywhere and you can pick up and move on as you like.
Hopefully we get some energy picking up around this and we can share experiences and support in the Substack’s comments area for each ‘week’s’ section. If not, that’s also okay because I’ll be doing this for me anyway.
I’ll see what Substack’s tagging feature is like, but somewhere on the homepage I’ll create a ‘home’ tag for all posts relating to this. I’m not going to bother setting up a specific subscriber collective for this unless it grows or my current subscribers hate getting updates about this and leave. I’m not sure whether you’ll have to subscribe to my Substack to comment, but if you hate that idea of subscribing, the content and everyone else’s inputs are still here if you want them.
This is a first draft of this idea so things might change.
What do you think? Mail me if you like, subscribe for the updates below, or simply check in from the new year.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is the bestselling course in creative recovery. Her books are still available at stores and her site has a ton of resources, including a week-by-week support system for those who want it. Clickety click or tappity tap here for that.
Anyway. That’s that. Let’s see how this goes.
*My sister Micia introduced me to the self-pitying, mock-crying term wee-boo wee-boo and I remain forever in her debt for that divine phrase.
**Except my friends and family, Tass and Paul from Facebook, and Ann-Maree Tippoo, the book blogger at AnnieAndHerChapters. Many thanks, my ego would not have survived this crazy trip without you.