Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer
I'm a venter. I am vocal about things that bother me. Just mention submitting and you'll get me going. Submitting to agents and publishers is frustrating.
It wasn't always like this.
Twenty years ago, a writer would simply send a submission in a 13 x 9" envelope with a cover letter and SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to an agent or an editor. Within about three months they'd receive a response in the mail. Writers would get a definite yes or a no about their manuscripts.
Now days writers submit electronically, and most publishers respond only IF they are interested.
Professional writers put thought, care, and time into every submission. And, we want to hear back. Instead, we wait three months wondering if our submission has even been received. We wait three months wondering if our submission has been read. We wait three months wondering if someone likes our work. We wait three months and hear nothing at all.
Whenever I used to discuss submitting with my mother-in-law, she would answer with an expression that rhythmically and rhetorically rolled off her tongue, "What are you doing to do?" Which meant: there's nothing you can do.
But that was not me. There was something I could do. I could vent about it.
Given the submission situation, I have found that I'm not alone. Other writers feel the same way. They're not happy about the way submitting has changed. They vent, too. And with all of this venting, you may wonder if it is healthy. So, I did a little investigating, but I found that the subject of venting is complicated and thorny.
Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University and the lead author of the 2002 venting study says, “When people vent their anger, they want to hit, scream or shout, and it feels good to do that, and so they think, Oh, it feels good it must work,” says Bushman. “But it also feels good to take street drugs and eat donuts. But just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s healthy.”
, M.D., a San Diego-based psychiatrist weighs in. He states, “There’s certainly an advantage to acknowledging your emotions and being able to express them.” Reiss believes there's a right way to vent. The key is finding the right person. “It has to be someone who is not just going to join you in the anger but is also going to help you to come to terms with it and help you calm down,” he says.
According to Psychology Today, there are positive and negative features to venting. While venting can increase level of distress and antagonize others, it can discharge negative emotion and can help you feel better. Dr. Leon F Sheltzer, Ph.D., an anger management specialist says, "Generally, it’s better to let things out than hold them in. And doing so feels almost akin to problem-solving—in the moment, at least. Venting your frustrations alleviates tension and stress."
For me, venting allows me to express my frustration and to let of negative energy. Regardless of what some experts say, I think it's healthy to let off steam. I'm all for venting.
Especially when I don't hear back from an agent about a manuscript that I love.
SO, COME ON NOW.
I'VE SENT YOU A PROFESSIONAL QUERY.
ALL I ASK IS FOR A LITTLE COURTESY.
DO YOU LIKE THE MANUSCRIPT OR NOT?
COMPOSE A ONE SENTENCE RESPONSE.
TELL ME FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
LET ME KNOW.
IS IT YES OR IS IT NO?
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HOW HARD CAN IT BE?
I'm glad to get that off my chest.