Hi everyone! I’ve been working through this latest round of revisions of my WIP, and it is INCREDIBLE watching it turn into the book I want it to become, piece by piece. I’m both beyond excited and straight up terrified about the prospect of querying this spring.
I’m far less scared of rejection than I used to be. It WILL happen for this manuscript, no matter how much I work on it, no matter how great it ends up being. I no longer take it so personally — after all, as a reader, there are certain things I love to read and others that I just don’t care for. Sometimes I can’t even put those reasons into words, why I don’t love something or why it’s just…meh. We can’t all love everything.
An agent recently told me that she firmly believes that writers deserve to find an agent who will love their work hard enough to fight for it, through thick and thin, and that anything less would be a disservice. Her words really stayed with me — that’s what all writers want, right? Not an agent who will shrug off their work or say, “Yeah, seems okay, I guess I’ll take a look.” I want someone to love it as much as I do (if that’s possible) and join me in making that book, and a career in writing, a reality.
So I’m excited to put my work into the query trenches, but…it’s scary imagining that I might not find the agent who will love this book as much as I do. Someone who will want to partner with me and take a chance on my work. Unfortunately, there are simply no guarantees, and publishing isn’t here to pat me on the back.
Sometimes, I ask myself, “What will I do if this book doesn’t earn me the perfect agent?” The immediate answer is CRY, obviously. But after the crying, I know what the answer is: I’ll write another story.
I once worried I wouldn’t have other stories to tell, but that was a silly fear. For me, story ideas swirl in my head, a little cloud that eventually turns into a thunderstorm, forcing me to write it down. I have a couple stories that I want to begin writing once I’ve started querying my current WIP.
Do I love those ideas the same way I love my current book? No, not yet. How could I? I’ve spent a lot of time with my current WIP! But I know I can love these ideas too, if I let them grow. After my first manuscript, one I ultimately shelved, I didn’t know if I’d love a story as much as that one. Turns out, love of stories isn’t a finite thing, and if anything, I love this story even more than my first. I’ve grown as a writer and a person with this story.
Through everything, I learned that I love writing. I didn’t love one story; I love the process of writing and seeing it grow. I love sharing it with people, even if receiving critiques is sometimes still a bit hard (FAR less than it once was). I love learning about writing. I love craft books; I love seeing blog posts from people sharing their knowledge. I love learning about the publishing industry, harsh mistress that she is.
And because I love my current story, I have to put it out there, even if it might not bring me exactly what I want. Even though I know it’ll bring rejections, and likely heartache, and I’ll have to shield my self-confidence. It’s not that I don’t believe in my work, it’s that the numbers are against me. Many agents get upwards of 100 queries a week, and they usually request only a few for the month. They can’t take on everything, and like the agent above said: agents want to take on a project they’re so invested in that they’ll fight for it. Not a “seems good, but…”
In the end, my love of writing is what will carry me through all of it, because I love it more than any of the rejection or hurt or heartache. There are very few things in my life I can say that about. And while it’s tempting to think that all of my dreams will come true if I only get an agent, or a book deal, or a BIG deal, the truth is that I’m already doing what I love by writing at all.
On the days where writing isn’t fun, or I’m questioning why I’m doing it, I take a step back and reevaluate. Because if I lost that love, what would be the point?