The novelist Mary Ellen Chase divided literature into three categories: major, minor and mediocre. I never wanted to be mediocre, but I might be.
At best, Angel’s Grace was a minor work of literature. It was recognized with a small accolade from New York City librarians, but its earnings have been disappointing. Since then, I’ve written four non-fiction books, all of which are good, not great. I worked hard on them, but in the end, they are fair, adequate even, but not anything that will make a reader stand up and think, “wow, that was really great.”
Then early yesterday, I got a 3rd rejection for my 2nd novel. It’s painful. My agent asked me for my thoughts. I think I might put my head in an oven. But I told her I’d re-read it and see if I might improve it somehow.
So. Does this make me mediocre? It might.
To lick my wounds I avoided writing all day, started reading a good book, and then read some of Nathan Bransford’s “agent for a day” queries. I started to realize that we writers are all just struggling. It didn’t make me feel better, but at least I don’t feel alone.