I’m having a pretty shitty Writerly Ego day. Actually, it’s kind of been a shitty Writerly Ego month, to be perfectly honest. And when I’ve shared this little emotional nugget with the BFF and The Husband, I’ve received a raised eyebrow and a “YOU HAVE A FUCKING AGENT” in response to my pity party. I get where it’s coming from. I am in a position a lot of writers would kill for. I have a wonderful agent who thinks me and my writing are worth something and deserve a place on the shelves at Barnes & Noble next to writers I admire like Jenny Lawson Jill SmoklerRobin O’BryantAnna Lefler and Heather Armstrong.

It seems, however, that the platform I am currently standing on may not big enough to get there. Or maybe it just feels like that because I’m a writer and us artistic types are moody and overly emotional and maybe I just need a vodka-flavored cookie. Because really? I’m pretty proud of my little platform. I bust my ass for free because writing is who I am and what I do and the writing part is actually more important than getting paid part…for my sanity, at least. The bills sitting on my desk waiting to be paid, however, would rather I stop trying to stay Not Crazy and just get a fucking job that probably wouldn’t leave me the time to write for the awesome sites I contribute to.

I love sharing the funny on An Army of Ermas and Funny Not Slutty. Getting a spot on best-selling author Lissa Rankin’s Owning Pink site is something I will forever be proud of. I’ve been published on Hippocampus Magazine and almost fell over when StoryBleed accepted the same piece for publication on their site. And then what I’ve got going on over here on this little ol’ blog o’ mine. I’m working on getting my name out there and my writing on more outlets, but these things take time. And Platforms don’t build themselves overnight.

I’m by no means in the same stratosphere as the likes of Dooce or The Bloggess or Scary Mommy and that’s okay with me. I’m not trying to be them. Just me. And hopefully the Me that I Am will one day be enough.

Maybe this sounds like a Poor Me post, but I don’t mean it to. Instead, I wanted to let other aspiring writers out there know that the days of doubting yourself don’t end the moment you sign that contract with your dream agent. And, I’m sure my published writer friends will tell me that they sure as hell don’t end when a book deal is offered or the day their books were released or even the day they got their first glowing review. Because once someone Other Than You believes in your work, it’s not just your ego riding on how many readers connect with that essay you got placed in that literary magazine that you love or how many hits per month your blog is getting or how much better you feel just for having taken the jumbled words out of your head and making some sense of them in a new piece you just started.

Every level of success reached is both a validation of our talents and a new reason to Freak the Fuck out, but it’s a lesson in the writing life that I seem to keep having to be reminded of. Three months ago I was still waiting for the Moment All of My Dreams Would Come True and then the world turned upside down when they did because I signed with my agent. That singular moment took two years to make a reality. And you would be right of you guessed that the Freaking Out commenced after the shiny newness of my situation sunk in. It’s not just me and my ego on the table anymore. It’s me and my ego and my agent’s time and effort and enthusiasm and Belief in What I Am and Have Yet to Become.

But if I think back, I probably went through the same little Self-Doubt Fest when I was accepted onto my college newspaper’s staff and when I saw my first byline and when I was assigned to cover my first murder case at the city newspaper that hired me right out of college. And then again when I left the newspapers to freelance and when I started this blog and when I woke up this morning and my little girl told me that I’m the best mother in the world.

So maybe shitty Writerly Ego days are just part of the process and part of what makes us who — and what — we are. It’s our literary equivalent of the trap women set for men when we ask if This Dress Makes Us Look Fat because we really only need to be reminded that in their eyes we are beautiful no matter what how that dress fits us. My platform is what it is. My ass? Probably looks horrible in that dress. But it’s okay.

Because tomorrow I’m still going to write something. And someone is going to read it.

 

The sun wakes me up.

Even with the damned light-blocking curtains in our room, the bits of light peeking through the sides are enough to break into my happy little dreams. I curse myself for forgetting to put on my sleep mask the night before and decide to throw the quilt over my head for a little more time to rest. I’m allowed. My mom is visiting and I know that the minute she leaves, my chances for anything that resembles sleeping in will be out the closest window.

But first I think I’ll check my email. You know, in case an agent has decided overnight that my book is Super Crazy Awesome and has sent a message asking me to call them as soon as I wake up because they are considerate enough to realize Arizona is three hours behind New York? So I reach for the phone on my nightstand and with a precision only a social media addict can attempt, have my email loading before I even open my eyes to focus on what I am looking at.

Blah, blah, new twitter followers, blah, blah, blah, I am now rich because of a dead relative I have never heard of in Zimbabwe and can I please forward all of the necessary banking information to the kind lawyer handling the matter, blah, blah, my mother-in-law wants to be friends on Facebook, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and WHAT IN THE HELL?

The fuzziness from sleep is instantly replaced by an overwhelming sense of HOLY FUCK WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW and I resist the urge to reach over to the other side of the bed and backhand the still sleeping Husband because my cover being blown is like, totally his fault. Or maybe it’s mine for actually saying yes when he asked if he could like my blog Facebook page. BFF Mel totally warned me that was a bad idea.

“They’re gonna find you,” she had said.

Who pays attention to that crap?

My mother-in-law, apparently.

Before anyone new here gets too confused, I have a strict Public Blog Policy. In short it goes like this: You are allowed to read if you don’t already know me. That might seem ass-backwards to normal people but when you stop to think about it or stop taking your medication it makes total sense. For starters? My in-laws say things like, “Dangnabbit” and “Dadgum” instead of, you know, real swear words. I usually behave when in their presence or on the phone with either one of them, but here?

Have y’all read my shit?

And once the in-laws get on my little social media bandwagon, all hell (sorry, I mean heck…oh shit, it’s happening already) will break loose because then my side of the very Mexican and You Can’t Say Things Like Fuck family will find out and I’ll start censoring what I write and then things will get all boring for me and for you and I’ll replace posts like this with posts not like this. Obviously, this is a major problem.

Besides, if I approve the request, there’ll be questions about my book and people will assume I like to Share My Feelings with them on a regular basis and I’ll most likely piss everyone off, alienate myself from The Family, and The Husband will just sit there looking confused when I try to explain to him Just One More Time the logistics behind not letting anyone know about my writing until I get an agent, a book deal, and make the best seller lists (maybe even all in the same week, right?) because then I will be established and I would totally be okay with that.

But until then this was all supposed to be my secret word garden. Password: Strangers Only.

Before I start to unnecessarily hyper-ventilate, I blink a few times and focus on the phone screen again. Her name is still there. Shitshitshitshitshit!

“What are you doing?” The Husband is now awake and staring at his crazy wife checking her email on her phone before she has even gotten out of bed to brush her teeth and pee. “You realize that if technology as we know it were to disappear tomorrow, you would probably go clinically insane from the withdrawals within a matter of moments, right?”

I don’t answer. I don’t trust myself to speak. Instead, I hand him the phone and climb out of bed to take care of the morning bathroom routine. As I reach for my toothbrush, I hear him start to laugh. It’s probably a good thing he is still in bed because I am pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to stand at this point.

I am proven wrong just a moment later.

“Quick, turn around and give me your best Deer Caught in Headlights” look.” The Husband is standing behind me with the phone, ready to snap a picture.

I turn around, my expression unchanged from the moment I first saw the email.

“Perfect.”

 

I need a platform.
And while Platform The Secret Agent Monkey seems to have taken over my blog, I doubt he alone is going to make me Famous Enough to get an agent or a book deal. But don’t tell The Husband that. I’m still working on convincing him that I need a finger monkey or my dreams will never come true.
Until that happens, I need to come up with some other Platform Building plans. Right now I am considering any and all of the following:

*Move to Jersey Shore. Make friends with Snooki. Steal a Bumpit. Make it work with my Mexifro. Say something to piss Snooki off (on camera, of course) and let her beat me up (on camera, of course). When she offers hush money to keep me from suing, I counter offer with a contract with her agent and give her back the Bumpit I stole from her dressing room. It didn’t work for me, anyway. Then? Wait for book deal.
*Divorce The Husband. Move to Hollywood. Shack up with a Rock Star. Divorce Rock Star after granting exclusive interviews to the paparazzi hiding in my garbage cans. Move back in with The Husband (who was totally in on the plan) and grant more exclusive interviews to the paparazzi I invited over for pizza. Wait for book deal.
*Get pregnant with 15 babies at the same time. Force The Husband into a reality show he wants nothing to do with. Make sure to get all the free plastic surgery I can while my 15 minutes is still riding strong and a few more when no one will touch me except for my garbage paparazzi crew. But I draw the line at the reverse claw mullet. My Mexifro already has enough “character.” Wait for book deal.
*A murder rap. Wait for book deal.
*Buttercup’s cute enough, me thinks. Talk The Husband into moving to Questionable Parenting-ville so we can join up with the Toddlers and Tiara’s circuit. I figure just a few appearances is enough to get my name out there before Buttercup is scarred for life. (side note: this plans is banking on a sizable advance, since I’m gonna need a chunk to spring for the preventative therapy to keep my kid from going all Celebrity Rehab on me when she gets older as payback.) Also? Wait for book deal.
*Rob a bank. Get lipo and a boob life. And a tummy tuck. Oh, and cap my baby teeth.  Approach Sports Illustrated and get the cover. Parlay that experience into a television show host gig. Divorce The Husband so I can hook up with an ex-actor-turned-musician who is now only famous in Europe and in the States for being married to me. Wait for book deal.
*Buy a time machine with the leftover funds from the bank heist. Become a cute child actor who grows up to be a messed up adult who also happens to be broke now because I spent my millions on too much crack and crystal meth. Clean myself up, find and marry The Husband, have my Buttercup, and hire a ghost writer to pen my story, because being famous once is usually Famous Enough for a memoir to actually happen, even if it’s socially acceptable to not even be expected to write it yourself. And? I probably wouldn’t have to wait very long for that book deal.

I’m still working out the kinks, of course. The Husband is being all You’re crazy and Just Be Patient and You wrote a great book and it’s cute, but seriously?

I’m just me. I’m not a name. After I end up on the cover of The National Enquirer?

Oh yeah. That’s the ticket.

Platform? Here I come.

 

I thought I just had to rewrite a song. Then I checked out TBFF Juliette’s blog and find a full out blog post prefacing her little zombie-themed holiday ditty and find myself feeling all inadequate.

Cuz I got nuthin’.

So instead of embarrassing myself while trying to be witty and typo-free at the same time (which is probably about as likely as real life BFF Mel successfully walking and chewing gum simultaneously) I’ll just stick with the basics.

* TBFF Juliette was asked to host a 12 Days of Christmas blogathon.

* TBFF Juliette agreed.

* TBFF sent me an email indicating she now wouldn’t be sleeping until next week and proceeded to tell me that because she was in, I was automatically required to participate.

* I considered telling her to bite me (which really? If you know me, you know this is only a phrase I save for my very best friends. Which actually makes it a compliment.)

* I then decided I want to stay on TBFF Juliette’s good side seeing as she has The Walking Dead backing her up now. My posse consists of a 4 pound puppy, an 18 pound mutt, and a sarcastic 3 year old. Juliette wins.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
An idea for a brand new book.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two new shiny chapters
and an idea for a brand new book

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the sixth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
seven likes on Facebook,
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eighth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
eight new rejections,
seven likes on Facebook,
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
nine query rewrites,
eight new rejections,
seven likes on Facebook,
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the tenth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
ten tweets supporting,
nine new rejections,
eight query rewrites,
seven likes on Facebook,
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
eleven foursquare updates,
ten tweets supporting,
nine query rewrites,
eight new rejections,
seven likes on Facebook,
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
twelve agent offers,
eleven foursquare updates,
ten tweets supporting,
nine query rewrites,
eight new rejections,
seven likes on Facebook,
six beta readers,
five thousand words,
Four hours wasted tweeting,
three plot holes,
two new shiny chapters,
and an idea for a brand new book.

Merry Christmas, ya’ll. Now go make Holiday Merriment on Juliette’s blog. If you want in on the zombie survival crew, it’s a good way to make nice while there’s still time.

 

@aspiringmama: Sometimes? Doritos really are the answer.

Let me tell you who I am not.

I am not:

*Perfect

*Able to spell anything corretcly

*Interested in geting over my Tofu Phobia

*Friends with my scale

*In posession of a heaf of hair that actually moves when the wind does.

*An expert in Pubic Relations (Click on the link above for this one to make sense)

*Working out right now. (I know…I know…But my Christmas cards are almot done and the tree is up and it’s preeeeeety! And, And, And? I finished and hit send on a zillion queries, mostly typo-free, so I’m busy writing a blog post as I wait for the rejections to start pouring in so I can stare longingly at The Husband’s unopened bag of Doritos while I read them because I will physically need some at that point.)

Now for what I am:

*Honest.

*The Typo-queen (Exhibit A? My tweet stream)

*An expert in making the Post Mama Muffin Tops and Cellulite look gooood. And? I know how how to turn a hoodie into Assmoflauge by trying it around your waist and making it look like you did it to coordinate your outfit and not hide the circumference of your badonkatonk.)

*Trying my damndest to not get discouraged by my body’s utter lack of interest in anything I AM doing right to try and shed some flab off my ass. (Damned Doritos.)

*Proud owner and curator of the world’s first social media approved Mexi-fro.

*Still looking for my point in this post.

Oh right. I wrote a book about trying to lose the weight after the baby blew out the candles on her second birthday cake. But do I have the answers? No. Do I have a rockin’ bod to show for my efforts? (Note the lack of photos in this post and assume the worst.) Hell no. Do I plan on going to the gym tomorrow? Nu-uh.

 But do I want to?

Yeah. I do.

Even when life kicks me in the softly padded ass, even when emotions sneak up and make bad things sound good (like that Doritos tweet above), I am still trying. I am still wanting to better myself and provide my daughter with a healthy example. SO i almost always eat right. I don’t bitch about my thighs or my muffin top out loud. I tell her she is healthy. I tell her she is strong.

The truth of the matter is that I have health issues that aren’t making anything easier. But that isn’t saying I want it any less. And while I am in limbo, I am figuring the best thing I can do is look in the mirror and love what I see. Mexi-fro, muffin top, fat ass, and all.

If I can show my baby girl I am happy where I am now while I work on getting where I want to be, then it’s all good. And if I never get there? I need to be able to smile and laugh and hug her close when she asks if eating her dinner will make her grow up to be healthy and strong.

Because it’s all about her, people. I’m just along for the ride.

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