Ever since The Runaway Courtesan was well received on FictionPress, a seed of arrogance was planted in me. Ever since an agent took interest in my work, my arrogance puffed up. But now…the needle of reality has pierced my ballooning head.
I am now deflating.
I have a second revise & resubmit request from Agent#1 that I’ve put on hold, because my brain and heart is not prepared for the upheaval I plan on putting TRC through. I have a partial in the hands of a superbly busy agent. I have query letters in the inbox of four other agents, awaiting a response for weeks now. And I just received an “Unfortunately-after-careful-consideration-we-have-decided-to-pass-on-this-project” today.
Nothing is turning out as I imagined.
I dreamt of a quick progress from one point to the next. I imagined that one of the agents would contact me, offering representation because she was totally in love with my work. I fantasized that within this year we would be so fortunate as to land a publishing contract for my manuscript.
However, week by week, my assurance weakened, my fantasy crumbled under the weight of reality. As I watched my other writer friends begin querying, receiving partial and full requests, getting represented, getting published, my confidence began to shake.
Then, as I saw the others writers moving on ahead of me, as if we were in a race and I was falling behind, I began to examine myself. I asked myself: Why do I want to get published? I thought and thought about this and realized that I was envious because I wanted to take pride in something. This wasn’t why I started writing at all. I started because I wanted to reach out to other readers.
I’ve finally come to terms with this struggle of mine. It’s a change that has occurred slowly. If I am rejected, I will not be crushed. If I am falling back in the “race” to publication, I will try not to envy. This is why:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
And, if I might add:
a time to revise and a time to query,
a time to publish and a time to develop your craft
Each time I am rejected by an agent, I want to step back from my default mode (wallowing in self-pity) and tell myself that perhaps it isn’t my time to get published. I’ll use this time to develop my craft, because it is the story I want to tell, and if my story is not good enough…then why rush myself to share it?
My Facebook status: I’m going to stop querying for TRC now. Publishing is not a race. I’ll take my sweet time. Thank God I have another ms to work on
@ Mandy Kellett Goff: I read somewhere that on average, it takes 10 years to publish a first book. So if it is a race, it’s a very, very long one =).
@ June Hur: That actually makes me feel much better–the fact that it takes 10 yrs on average to publish. Being unable to find an agent, I was starting to feel like a “failure”. But I guess those folks who get agents and get published within a year or two are the lucky oddballs!