Why Being Unpublished is Like Being Single

Remember back in the day when you longed for a man, that one special man, who would fill your nights with warmth and smother you with spine-melting kisses? Remember how you'd see all the married couples and think "Where's my love?"

And you'd look around and realize you were the only single person in the crowd.

The loneliness got to you, drove you into the bookstore where, foggy-eyed and grief-stricken, you stumbled across a book titled (I'm guessing here) BEING HAPPY WHILE SINGLE.

You bought it because it seemed like a good idea at the time. And then suddenly it seems all people want to talk about is how good it is to be single! The wives tell you to be relieved that you can stay up until three in the morning with the lights on. Be glad no one pees on your toilet rim.

This is us, my dear writer friends. :-)

We are the single folks. Yes, there are wonderful, beautiful thrills to being married (published). But there's also hard work, deadlines, interferences, bad reviews, did I mention deadlines?

So while we keep our dreams alive, let's also find contentment and peace in the place we're at now. Which, based on most of your comments, you already do.

Have you ever wanted something, got it, and realized it wasn't quite what you expected?


Captain Hook said…
I love the analogy! Being married was definitely my "not what I expected". (The real marriage, not published.)
Stephanie said…
LOL! Great analogy! I think any relationship (with your spouse or with your editor) is tough and takes time to get used to. You have to learn each others quirks.

I thrive on deadlines, so I'm hoping my marriage with publishing is a long and healthy one!!
Debra E. Marvin said…
I'm thinking of those times when I've blown my diet on some dessert that I couldn't resist --- realized even while eating it that it wasn't as good as it looked but didn't stop till it was gone.
Now, relating that to writing? I'm not sure but I'm glad that the Lord patiently teaches us patience.

I think that it's a good motivator to imagine how wonderful achieving our goal will be. "The Dream" Then, like the rest of life, each new step on our journey comes with its own joys, pressures and disappointments.
Jessica Nelson said…
That stinks Sarah. I know I had my surprises too. LOL
Hopefully publishing will exceed your expectations. ;-)
Jessica Nelson said…
You thrive on deadlines???? *grin*
That's awesome. :-) I think you'll do great with publishing and I can wait to get a sneak peak at your book. Is it on your blog? Hmmm... I'll head over later and check it out.
Jessica Nelson said…
Oh Man Debra,
I totally hear you! I have such a sweet tooth. I haven't blown a diet, but I've blown money on treats that just weren't worth it. LOL
Great comment! The dream does motivate me, but you're so right about us being realistic when it comes to the business of writing.
Great post, Jessica. And, yes, I certainly have, and it's not fun.

I'll join you in being thankful for where I'm at now!
Kristen Painter said…
I can't answer this because I'm not "single" anymore. lol
Jody Hedlund said…
So does this mean I'm "engaged"? I think I'm still single because I'm not published, but since Rachelle is shopping my books and getting interest, I feel like I'm getting closer to moving into marriage! Just hope I don't get jilted at the alter!! :)
Oh can I relate to your post both in my writing and personal life!

Yes, too many times I've got what I asked for and when I got it I then wished I'd never asked!t !

I'm learning to enjoy being "single" in my writing life as far as publishing a book. I'm learning to enjoy the creative and learning process rather than ignore the rest of my life while locked in my office trying to meet deadlines. I'm at my own pace and enjoying the writing journey.
Jessica Nelson said…
Alright Eileen,
I'm scooting over so you can sit next to me. Btw, I have lots of chocolate. Would you like some? :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Rub it in, Kristen. lol

Congrats on your marriage! I can't wait to hear what happens with your vampire novel.
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Jody!
You won't get jilted. :-) Yeah, I think you're engaged... or maybe you know the question is fixin' to be popped, but you're not sure when. Ha!
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Donna,
That's wonderful. Enjoying the journey is a must, I think. :-)
Rita Gerlach said…
Interesting post, Jessica. Boy, do I understand the emotions that come with searching for a publisher, facing rejections from editors and agents, long waits and then disappointment.

It took me several years before I published. That was in 01 when the 'new thing' was pod publishing, made out to be the next wave in publishing that would out do all others.

There were again, drawbacks, disappointments galore.

Now I have a novel coming out through Abingdon Press, 'Surrender the Wind'. I've been blogging about the publishing process, and you are correct...it is rife with hard work. I have loved every minute of it.

We all love to write. To be published you have to be willing to do several things.

1. Be patient
2. Be polished - both in your writing and professional attitude.
3. Be persistent in sending out queries.
4. Be aware of the publishing process.
5. Be willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard.
6. Be willing to write for your readers.

Stick with it. Don't give up.
MeganRebekah said…
Cute analogy and what great imagery! (Even if it does remind me that I'm now doubly single - romantically and in the publishing world!)
Jessica Nelson said…
Thanks for stopping by Rita, and laying it out so succinctly. Your points would make a great blog post. :-)
No worries, I'm not even close to quitting. Ha! :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Megan,
Whoops! I'll tell you what every other married person would say, enjoy your singleness. :-) Also, I've seen it happen time and again, love comes when we least expect it.
Right now you have tons of attention to spread on those cutie patootie dogs!
Oh, thank you thank you thank you for this post! What a wise lady you are, to draw this analogy. So encouraging.

When I longed to marry a man who happened to be a preacher, I thought being in the ministry was one long Bible study, with meals in between. How stupid I was...

It has it's fun moments, but not the picnic I expected. I think the wisdom to remember is: you can't do anything well without God's grace, be it marriage, minsitry or writing.

And did I say thank you?

Jeanette Levellie, Audience of One
Karen Hossink said…
Wanted it, got it, and realized it wasn't what I expected?
Can you say motherhood???
In this case, it is so much better (and some days worse!) than I expected and has grown my faith more than I could have known. So, so very grateful!
Unknown said…
Ahhh...so sadly true. Isn't there like a speed dating thing we can try? Oh wait...that's called a conference isn't it????

I'm totally feeling this these days, but this was a good reminder to sit back be happy with what we have.
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Jen! I can't wait to delve into your personal reality show.
:-) I wanted to marry a missionary myself. I got an evangelist who turned into a realtor and now a fishing captain. :-) Things don't go as expected, that's for sure, but God gives us grace to deal with stuff and be content. :-) Thanks for stopping by!
Jessica Nelson said…
Heeeheee. Karen, I was the same way. I thought, we should have a baby. Had absolutely NO idea what that would entail. LOL
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Marybeth,
That's awesome. "Conferences are like Speed Dating" LOL! That needs to be a blog post too. Have you ever speed dated? We need some good tips. Number one: Keeps some mints handy. LOL
i remember single days so well. *sigh* great analogy....you're so right. we've got to be happy where we're at. it wasn't until i was fed up and said, "ok, lord...if you want me to die an old maid, i'm okay with that," that the lord brought my wonderful husband into my life! same thing likely will happen with getting published. :)
Genny said…
I just read a post over at a literary agent's blog this week about how sometimes it is easy to get too focused on being published. I think this is a great reminder to never forget the power of words, published or not. And to enjoy the journey. Great read, Jessica!
What Jess, what a great post! You and Eileen need to scoot over and make room for me and I will bring more chocolate. I am under no illusions that I will be published anytime soon, so am trying to enjoy the journey. I do like learning about the publishing aspect, but am trying to focus on the storytelling part first and foremost. (Eileen has a beautiful post on today that speaks to that)

I haven't been single in so long, I have forgotten what it feels like. So does this mean that we can have some awesome Single Ladies Nights Out? How do you do that in cyberspace anyway?
Jessica Nelson said…
Yeah Jeannie,
I've seen that happen. When people turn something over to God and then Bam, He surprises them with awesome stuff. ;-)
I agree. Publishing is such an adventure, like love. You never know what's around the corner.
Jessica Nelson said…
Thanks for stopping by Genny. :-) I'll have to find that post. I love lit agent blogs!
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Sherrinda,
I have no clue but a night out sounds awesome!!! :-)
Yummy. More chocolate is always welcome. LOL
Cindy R. Wilson said…
I think this is a great reminder to enjoy where you're at while you're there. There's always something that can be complained about at every stage of writing or publishing so it helps to learn and grow at the place you are so you can really appreciate it when you move to the next place. I'm the queen of run-on sentences today! Sorry! Cool post, though.
Great comparison, Jess! Every situation has its advantages and disadvantages.

The single woman sees the fairy-tale wedding, decorating their first home together, etc. She doesn't see the struggles involved in building a marriage, the lean financial times, or any of the challenges of day-to-day life.

There's a cost in marriage, in singleness, and in publishing. It's the end result, the vision, that keeps us moving forward.

Susan :)
Jessica Nelson said…
I got what you meant, Cindy. :-) Thanks for commenting.
Unknown said…
Great post Jessica! I love the analogy that you use here. So true!!! I remember well the struggle of being single and looking around at all of my friends and realizing I was the only one who wasn't married. You put a great spin on this. Love it!!!
Patti said…
Great post. It's always good not to remember where we are and enjoy it. It's too easy to wish for what's coming around the corner.
Danyelle L. said…
I love this, Jessica! It's always good to look at the good things one is experiencing, whether single, dating, or married. :p
*hates dating--publishing version*
LOL, it is so true, and what a great analogy! I guess that makes my using querytracker kind of like my single friend who is always on match.com!
Pen Pen said…
Graduating from college.

I distinctly remember PRAYING that I could finish faster. I felt so ready to be out of there.

Now- I'm in a never ending job search that leaves me depressed and yet-shackled to my home. In college, I'd stay up all hours and hung out with other amazing writers. I'd spend my mornings in writer's seminars, and my afternoons eating a croissant and writing in La Madeline. I had nobody asking when I'd be home-nobody expecting anything except for me to do my homework. I worked out TWICE a day(just split a regular workout in two cuz it seemed easier that way for some reason), and could browse around Target for hours. Sure--I had little money, but I didn't really NEED money-I mostly ate grits/chicken/veggies.
You can do anything you want there--I have a friend who had a baby very young and didn't get to go away to college. Now- She's kind of running wild-as if things were bottled inside her for a long time and she never got the release of college-where she could be free to do what she wanted when she wanted. She got divorced and has gone out of control-It's really hard for her kid. ...I guess my point is that college is a time BEFORE the major commitments like kids when u can take off at 4 am and not ask permission and it's okay. It allows people to get stuff out of their system. Some people have just a little to get out-some have a lot, but I think everyone needs that chance to be "free". During that time, I felt pressures and fears-I didn't stop to look around and see that things would change once I graduated--I would slip into the realm of work and monetary pressures that are HUGE compared to making an A on a psych test. I thought after college would be easier--I expected things to fall into place and to still be totally free. I don't mean I'm locked down-I just mean that my schedule locks up in a way it never did in college. I can't just take off or do anything--I have to choose my own path and not deviate from it.

.......I hope this made sense.
Warren Baldwin said…
The answer to your first question, ah, no, I don't remember that! But, I hope Cheryl does!

Anyway, I get your point of comparison, and it is a good one. I sent the final draft in today about 5 p.m. for my Proverbs devotional book. It entitled, "Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks and other Gems from Proverbs." Ah, felt good.

Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Stina
Thanks for dropping by! I hope everything is going well on your end.
Yeah, I remember in high school being boy crazy and wondering where my man was. LOL It was actually a good thing that I wasn't every guy's dream *snicker*
Anyways, you're married now, one more "marriage" to go. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
So true Patti. :-) Thank you for stopping by!
Jessica Nelson said…
Danyelle, You hate dating? Does that mean you hate querying and stuff? LOL!
Jessica Nelson said…
That crackes me up!!! I think you have something there. Snort!
Jessica Nelson said…
Pen Pen,
I totally get that. In a sense we are more shackled now. It's responsibilities and family, and that's just a part of growing up. I hear what you mean about being "free". I didn't really get that too much in college but senior year of high school was like college for me. I enjoyed jumping in my car whenever and doing stuff.
Soooooo.... wait until you have kids. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Oh whoops,
Pen Pen, i didn' mean to Wait... I meant that when you do have kids, you'll see another restriction on that freedom, but I promise, they're worth it. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Warren, I didn't realize you have a devotional coming out! How exciting. :-)
Angie Ledbetter said…
Lots of times the dream doesn't meet the reality, but we gotta keep on pursuing.
Diane said…
It will happen in His perfect timing.
* said…
Pregnant with twins would be at the top for me of something I wanted (to get pregnant) but later realized it wasn't quite what I had in mind. I never wanted twins. God has a sense of humor.

Thanks for this post -- having the perspective to look at the positive aspects of being an unpublished writer is a good trait to cultivate. Glad I read this.
Pen Pen said…
:) OMG!!! I'm cracking up with ur "wait" thing!! :)
--and u should be asleep! We both should-It's too early :)
Jessica Nelson said…
Pen Pen,
This is what happens when a person has kids. They're up when they should be sleeping.

I don't know what your excuse is. LOL!
Jessica Nelson said…
True Angie. Some dreams are impractical, but they're still fun to dream about. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Diane,
Thanks for stopping by. It's nice that He's perfect, right? While we're down here worrying, he's got the whole thing taken care of. LOL
Jessica Nelson said…
Oh my, Terresa! I would've felt the same way if I found out I was having twins. *shudder*

I hope you see the good in twinhood, lol. Maybe double the cuteness? :-)
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....that's quite and analogy. YOu can always self-publish. Many do it here in Canada
You know - there is truth in what you say. Because sometimes the journey really is the wonderful part...the actual writing....I won't knock being published, because this is where I wanted to be and am grateful, but, yes, there are expectations and stresses to it, too ....

So, enjoy the journey! enjoy it all!
Jessie Oliveros said…
What a great analogy! And I fantasize about books and potential publication just like I once fantasized about men and marriage.
Deb Shucka said…
Thank you so much for this terrific reminder to be grateful for where we are, and to find the gifts here and now.
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Jessie. Gotta love the fantasies.
Jessica Nelson said…
Thanks Kathryn. :-) I would like to enjoy it all!
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Rhapsody B,
I think many do it here to, but I don't think self-pubbing will be the way I go.
Thanks for stopping by!
rhonda mcknight said…
Very good post Jen. On that list of published authors woes there's marketing and promotion. A real bear.

I'd love to repost this on my blog. Let me know.


Rhonda McKnight
Secrets and Lies
Coming Nov 24,2009
Jessica Nelson said…
No problem Rhonda.
I'm not looking forward to those "bears". LOL
Melissa Sugar said…
I see i am very late to this game, bit I have been out of pocket. I saw this and had to comment. I totally get the analogy. I see it in both marriage & motherhood. I hope becoming published will be as rewarding and worth the work and effort as both of the abovementioned. I have a feeling it will be

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