Sunday, January 30, 2011

Floaties in the Ocean of No

My husband's a pretty remarkable guy. He's one of those rare people who helps you find the best within you. I've seen his invisible power work on all sorts of people. It's a combination of optimism, sincerity, and strength. He Thinks You Can and somehow, almost miraculously, you discover that indeed you can.
Being around him is just good for you.
I get a lot of credit for my success (which is very nice), but the simple truth is that the difference between success and failure is the ability to endure failure long enough to achieve success.
One little yes in the Ocean of No can save you.
But after you've been adrift for a while, it's easy to begin doubting that a yes actually exists.
The Ocean of No is vast.
And cold.
And can easily swallow you up.
I swam around in the Ocean of No for ten years looking for someone to say Yes, we'll publish you. People ask me how I survived it, and I usually tell them one part of the truth: I didn't know it would take ten years.
Each day I thought: Today could be the day.
But the other part of that truth is that during all that swimming in publishing's Ocean of No, I was wearing little floaties.
You know, those arm bands that keep innocent young people (who are too naive to understand that people do drown in Ocean of No) afloat?
In his helpful, quiet way, Mark slipped on those floaties--he kept me believing that what I was doing was good and important, and that, hey, today could be the day.
And then one day, almost miraculously, it was.
I look back on the me that met him and realize that he's done a lot more than buoy me through the Ocean of No. He's helped me become more reasoned and empathetic and giving. And when I'm upset about something like I was this week, he makes me get in his little Rowboat of Reason and paddles me across my choppy waters to a calmer place where he helps me sort through things until I feel better.
For all the praise and acclaim I get, I know the truth--I'm the me I am because of him.
I just wanted you to know.

14 comments:

Ashlee said...

I love that no matter what you're writing about, you can get straight to the core. The concept of this post was so simplistic, yet so complex at the same time and it was the combination that made it special. Mark seems like an amazing man, and is most certainly lucky to have you in his life as well. Just remember, while you were truly blessed by that "yes" we, your readers and the people who care about you, were as equally blessed that day. I'm glad you kept swimming and that Mark was there to keep you afloat. Thank you Mark.

Wild About Words said...

Wendelin, what a lovely tribute to your husband. I feel the same way about my wonderful hubby. Aren't we fortunate? (And I'm sorry something upset you this week.) Here's hoping this week is a doozy in all good ways!

Jill said...

Hi Wendelin! I'm ten years old and I just finished reading Flipped, and I can't wait for the movie. Although I know the books are always better!I just wanted to suggest that you make a sequel to Flipped if you weren't already planning to. I know that authors mean to do this, but I hate it when you finish a book at the story does not seem to be over. For instance, like in Flipped. Anyway, keep writing!

bookworm said...

wow, you and your husband look fantastic in nthis picture! and i have a friend similar to your husband that just tosses me floaties nonstop. actually, several. but one really comes to mind the way you describe your husband. :D

bookworm said...

jill.... the movie is just as god as flipped! :D As to a sequel, one was already made, called the confessions of a seriel kisser. it has nothing to do with juli or bryce, but it's just as moving.

Pooja Dimba said...

Great post!

Alexa said...

That's sweet!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Such nice comments. Thank you everybody!

Jill: Sorry you didn't like the ending to Flipped! Make sure you live out the happy ending in your own life :)

Rose said...

What was the first thing you ever got published?

Amanda said...

I have realized over the past couple years that as an author you don't always know which way to go, which angle to take a story, what will happen next...you need someone to bounce ideas off of, to try and follow you as you unsuccessfully try to explain where you are going with a story, and more improtantly, to tell you when the idea just plain stinks. It is nice that you have someone like Mark for that, not only for your writing career but for life in general. You are both very lucky to have each other.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Rose: "How I Survived Being A Girl" -- in 1997 -- it's a middle grade novel, funny and embarrassingly autobiographical.

Amanda: So true! And bouncing around ideas can be SO helpful--I think it's why a lot of people form writer groups.

melissa goodwin said...

You are a delightful person. Thank you for sharing! I met you at the Mystery Writers Conference last year here in Indy. I attended the Indianapolis premier of Flipped and loved it. I have an agent now and making the publishing rounds. I’m hoping it doesn’t take ten years, but I’ll have my floaties on just in case.

julie said...

i agree with what ashlee said 10000%!!! to me, my little floaties are funny moments throughout the day--a simple act such as falling out of a chair or getting shocked by a pencial sharpener (you know- static shock?!) can make my day so much brighter and they always give me insight into what lies on the other side of the Ocean of No, or the Ocean of Rejection or the Ocean of All that is Bad....im so glad that Mark kept you afloat those years so that we could all keep reading your FANTASTICAL books!!!!!!!!!!!! im a freshman in high school and its actually quite funny that a really good friend of mine is named Mark also, and it also works out in my favor that he is pretty cute too :D:D
BUT ANYWAY.
i just absolutely love sammy keyes and the dead giveaway!!!!! ESPECIALLY when sammy and casey dance at the Farewell dance and he starts singing their song to her!!! is it a real song?????? because i think that would make my life complete......:D:D and if its not, i think someone needs to make a band called Darren Cole and the Troublemakers with you in it and write the song so that we can all listen to it...i would if i had any instrumental talent, which i do not have, although i can sing pretty well, if i do say so myself!!!
wow this comment is super long---if anyone is still reading you are pretty great!!!!!
<3julie<3

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Melissa: Thanks so much :) And congratulations on getting an agent. That is a huge step forward! I want to hear about it when you find your yes!

Julie: You will be a senior when the final Sammy Keyes comes out, and I promise you won't be disappointed :) And that's all I'm saying! (Which is very hard!!)