Thursday, April 9, 2009

Defending my Delusions of Grandeur

Drunk Writer Talk is one of the blogs I check out regularly. Yesterday, writer and co-blogger of the site Maureen McGowan commented on the QueryFail/AgentFail explosion that has yet to be doused.

The issue began when an agent began a Twitter discussion about the silliest things writers have written in query letters to agents. Writers were then infuriated and took the opportunity to discuss (or rant) about agents' shortcomings.

Point of information: I participated in this writerly discussion, but my comments bordered advice and requests, not blatant disgust.

In any case, Maureen linked her blog to this essay, Five Reasons Good Writers Fail in the hope of enlightening said ranting writers.

Eager for good advice (and wondering if I was doomed to failure), I clicked the link and cyber traveled to an essay that made me laugh out loud. I wasn't cackling at the points writer Jennie Nash made, though.

According to the essay, the first reason good writers fail is: Delusions of Grandeur.

Jennie writes: "A lot of first-time writers believe that they’re going to sell their book for several million dollars, lure Julia Roberts into taking an option on film rights, and land a spot on Oprah — all within a few hours of finishing their manuscript."

Ha hemm. Sound familiar?

No? Let me refresh your memory. On March 23, I wrote on this blog:

"I've been dreaming of seeing my name on the New York Times bestsellers list for the better part of a decade. I've imagined my fabulous stories turned into Hollywood blockbusters with A-list celebrities telling me how much they like my work. It takes a pompous person to think people I've admired for my whole life would be moved by my presence. Either that, or I've really bought into this idea of dreaming big...

"Why not imagine that agents are going to swoon over my book? That they'll fight to represent me. That I'll score a huge advance on royalties despite the current economic climate (allowing me to spend summers writing in a French chateau, an Italian villa, or an English cottage). That my book will open the gates with huge sales. That hesitant teen readers will pick up my book and discover the love for reading I've had my entire life."

My delusions of grandeur are actually worse than the ones Jennie mentions in her essay. And I'm okay with that. If you're going to delude yourself, might as well go all out.

For the record, a Nicholas Sparks-like advance would be great. (He earned a $1,000,000 advance for his first book, The Notebook). However, I do believe I have a grasp on reality.

That said, I kind of enjoy my delusions. They're fun. And it's all possible, right? Nicholas Sparks wasn't always a writer. A decade ago, Stephenie Meyer wasn't an international phenomenon. Stephen King began his career in a closet (literally, that was his office), and now his web site features his virtual office, which dwarfs a closet, obviously.

I'm not writing this to compare my writing to the works of those writers listed above - that would be delusional. But I do defend my desire to dream big, and I would encourage other writers and artists to do the same. The key is knowing the difference between the dream and the reality.

"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

No comments:

Post a Comment