Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm Not Sure I Do

Regret things, I mean. When I first looked at this topic, I really strained to think of things I regret doing. Of course, there are dumb things I regret saying- those things that make you cringe years later even though the other person didn't even seem bothered by them, and probably wasn't. Like oh fook, did I just insult their favourite jacket because I said I hated purple but I didn't mean to say it about the jacket oh my God are they looking at me like they hate me, are they, they probably hate me, crap.

Or when I email a submission to someone, or email my editors, or email an agent, and afterwards think HOMG I SAID THIS THING. What was I thinking? They probably hate llamas, and now I've gone and written an email about llamas to them! HOMG!

So I regret things that nobody cares about except for me, because I'm a mental.

But other than that, there isn't much. Particularly in my writing life. The thing about writing is- you can't regret getting that rejection. You can't regret not being good enough or not being right for that particular thing- regret only sneaks in when you've got some modicum of control over something, and writers generally have no control over that whatsoever.

However, I find that I can and do regret one thing, in writing. Not starting earlier.

Like Kathleen, I regret the things I didn't dare do. I regret not seizing opportunities when they came along. I regret not sending to Black Lace earlier, and only having a year of being published by them. I regret novellas I didn't send for calls that scared me; I regret letting one rejection put me off from trying again. I regret the things I didn't say because I was too scared to, and even though the things I say and the cheek I dare to have sometimes gets me into trouble, it also helped win me a contract I've longed for, for five years.

I know someone famous said all of this much more succinctly - something like you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, blah blah - but it's the truth. You will never be a writer if you don't take the chance. You can't regret the possible no they'll give you. But believe me, you will always, always regret not sending in the first place.

5 comments:

  1. Charlotte - Maybe we'll inspire somone to send that submission they've been too worried to let go. As "they" say, it's easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.

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  2. Hi Charlotte,

    Sage words. It seems easier to regret inaction than it does to regret action.

    Although, I'd be pretty pissed off to receive an email telling me how great llamas are :-)

    Best,

    Ash

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  3. Of course, there are dumb things I regret saying- those things that make you cringe years later even though the other person didn't even seem bothered by them, and probably wasn't.

    Oh, wow, I identify. And I seem to have an excellent memory for every foolish thing I've ever said or done. (At least I hope I do—otherwise, there have been even more of them!)

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  4. Kathleen- I hope so!

    Ashley- ARGH! I KNEW that llama email was a bad idea!

    Jeremy- I know, my memory for them is also excellent. I can't remember people's faces or names, but I can recall the exact dumb thing I said to them, ten years ago.

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  5. Hey Charlotte,

    Fortunately, my memory for the dumb things I've said and done is pretty poor. That's one reason why I'm basically a happy camper!

    I rather regret that Black Lace folded, too. Under Adam's watch, it had started to regain some of its former glory. Ah well. Sic transit gloria mundi!

    From now on, at least, I hope that you believe in yourself.

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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