So many thoughts, so little time.
That should be my mantra.
But I am doing much more than thinking. I’ve been working harder than ever these past few months, which is a very poor (but the only one I have) excuse for ignoring my blog.
I think that my efforts lately have crystallized my understanding of much of the advice I’ve heard over the years about writing, the publishing industry, finding success as a writer, etc. I’ll give you three quick stories:
1. After receiving much LOVE regarding the concept and the writing of my first novel from specific agents and editors, two of the people who expressed the most interest recently have passed on taking me on as a client. I’m still awaiting word from a couple other agents but as experience has shown me, I may not hear for months or at all. I have received some feedback which may help me with yet another revision, which my writing buddies are encouraging me to consider; I’m not ready to consider considering right now. I’m working on two new writing projects and am enjoying working on both, so I’m taking time off from novel #1 for the time being.
2. I recently read an amazing novel manuscript, written by a friend I met at a conference in December. Her writing is brilliant, her story fascinating, her characters well-rounded and quirky enough for my taste. This is a book that I would recommend to my mother (the most well-read person in America) and to tons of others, BUT she is having difficulty getting an agent to take her on. We all know the stories of famous writers (JK Rowling, anyone?) who were rejected time and again before their books were published; still, every rejection feels like a swift kick in the gut, one that could land you in the hospital. Is traditional publishing worth the effort when they publish books written by celebrities because they make money but reject the beautiful work of people like my friend? Don’t know BUT I’m confident that this novel will get published, hopefully sooner rather than later.
3. Another friend, who wrote a moving memoir about the impact of her unique role in 9/11, was in the process of signing a contract with Borders’ new publishing company weeks before they went under, and has finally put the book back out there (after making the revisions that she deemed necessary). A well-respected agent has voiced genuine interest in her story but keeps putting off the promised phone call for the two of them to discuss the book. I think the agent really is doing her best to juggle all the balls she has in the air and hasn’t been able to connect with my friend yet, but my friend is left in limbo, not knowing whether to “fish or cut bait” or continue in limbo. [BREAKING NEWS: Agent got back to her. Now we wait, excitedly. If everybody could think good thoughts for her, I know it would help.]
If I were a normal person, I think I would be crawling under my covers and hiding there until who knows when, but all of this rejection and disappointment has sent me deeper into these two projects and made me feel even better about my ability as a writer. That makes little sense except for the fact that when I am writing, I know that I am a writer. I feel it in my bones. When I am waiting, I feel like a waiter (not one who gets tips, either.)
So life goes on. And I move forward. And I love my work. So yay for that!
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