Sometimes, no matter what you want, or how passionate you feel about it, life has other plans for you. If you’re smart, you’ll listen and learn the lessons.
Last month I shared my acceptance with Writer’s Relief. It has been a whirlwind of a cycle so far. A cycle is a three month period where your query is created, synopsis polished and the ‘package’ you send to each of approximately 25 literary agents at a time provided; is developed for each agent, and please know, when I say EACH literary agent – I actually mean it.
The Reality is it is not what you want, or what you think should be submitted. It is what is requested be sent and in what order and how much if anything of what you’ve written. This can be anywhere from the first three pages, to the first three chapters to the first fifty chapters or just a one-page query – copy and pasted in the body of an email and nothing more. Not one more word.
The Writer would love to have you curl up with a fresh cup of coffee, or rich glass of wine, as you delve into the life of my characters, my plot, my tale. I want you to enjoy, squirm, cheer and weep when the story is over. Yet the reality is, a literary agent does not have the time to do that. Perhaps for the King’s, the Paterson’s, and the Grisham’s – but not for you or me. It’s nothing personal – it’s just business.
I’ve learned a great deal in this first cycle of the business of being taken seriously as a writer. What is expected of me? What is the reality of this writers life? The next cycle begins tomorrow. Another batch of agents, another stack of email rejections, or ‘we’ll let you know in a month or two or three.’ It is indeed difficult, but, you do have options – you can withdraw your submission for any number of reasons. The agent will not ask you why, or beg you to send them something more. Nope. They might even be relieved to have one less package to read. But this is where you decide – do I give up? Do I give in? Do I stop learning or do I give myself a day or two to really think, is this my passion? No matter what? Yes. No matter what we continue, by pen and paper, or keyboard and screen. You carefully look at what reality is telling you to do – and you press send. Take a breath. Do it again, and again and see where this journey takes you, who it introduces you to and watch to see the kind of person and writer you become.
Oh, and if you’re hoping that the word Relief actually relieves the writer? Well, yes and no – it depends on the quality of work you produce as a writer and the work you are willing to do or paid to have done (for example, writing your own query letter, or having it written for you). Are you proud of what you’ve created? Have you done everything you can to make it the best writing you can? Not just edit for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, but also looked at comments from your Beta group, given copies of your manuscript to family and friends and really listened to their views and opinions? Have you gone as far out on that limb as you can? Can you go a little further? Yes. Yes, you can. If you dare.
The Writer and the Reality of being a Writer are so very unique to each and every person who has wanted to put pen to page. But the business of publishing is vastly different. It is a business, and just like any other business you want to go into – research it, understand it and surround yourself with people smarter than you are to succeed in it. Keep writing. Keep creating and keep moving forward on this journey. The Reality is, at the end of the day – it begins and ends with you. How sturdy is that limb?