Thursday, April 23, 2009

Digging out of the Doldrums

I'd been sort of hands-off about my finished manuscript since an agent in NYC asked to see the entire thing (following the first five pages, then three chapters, then 100 pages ... it was all very incremental, and of course very exciting because it meant she liked what she was reading). So I figured I'd wait and see--if she wanted to represent it, she would contact me.

But the reality is, it's been a long time (a year), so I guess what this means is that I'm back to square one. However, I'm much wiser this time in terms of how to query, how to shop my manuscript to the right agent through meticulous research, and how to not adapt a laissez-faire attitude when it's my own work that I want more than almost anything to have published and read and enjoyed and analyzed by the masses.

Although I write every day (in some way shape or form) and have one completed manuscript and half of another, writing had started to revert into being a hobby for me. Getting my passion to be an actual published writer back over the past few days has been incredibly exciting, and I've gotten to know (well, inasmuch as you can know anyone through a blog :-)) some remarkable people along the way. However, it has reminded me of how darn difficult it is to get a piece published, even if it's pretty good.

Anyway, I was kind of having a pity party on Facebook last night, and I got a very interesting response from one of the wisest women I know (well, actually, I don't know her personally, but if you read her blog, you'll know what I mean). For a status update, I put something about being distraught about my writing career not doing what I wanted it to, and she put something encouraging about keeping to keep it up. I then went totally to pieces and had what could only be described as a Facebook temper tantrum ... to wit:

"Thank you : ) It's just frustrating me that I have a completed manuscript that's good (and it's not just delusional ol' me saying it) that I can't seem to do anything with. Then I'm trying to start a serious blog, and I'm not even sure how to go about doing that. I'm on vacation from work this week, so instead of stressing about teaching English to ninth graders, I'm stressing about my failures as a writer. Okay, that all came pouring out in one breath ... sorry about that ; )"

Her response, calm, cool, collected, and beyond thought-provoking, was:

"You know what will make things happen? Release all expectation from your writing. I promise you, that is what worked for me. When I had these goals and expectations and emotions attached to what I was doing, I was choked. I released it and my writing started to flow...and opportunities presented, and continue to present themselves."

She was absolutely right : )