Reality and This Writer’s Life

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?

 

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About Patty Young

Patricia Young spent most of her life in the Northeast. Before the casinos arrived and many of the safety rails installed, she would walk Bushkill Falls and enjoy time in a little cabin by Meadow Lake near the Delaware Water Gap. The school year was spent in New Jersey, but many summers were spent in Mississippi where she wandered in the woods, ride horses, reading comic books and played with cousins. After graduating from college with a degree in education, she taught fifth grade in Queens. When rent climbed higher than her salary she working for a defense industry in Yonkers before starting a small business called, The Giving Tree Day Care. For fifteen years she was fondly "held hostage by two year olds!" Writing every day for in a notebook for each child to keep communication open and flowing to the families. Fast forward to the spring of 2013 diagnosed with sever carpal tunnel syndrome (she does NOT recommend having both hands done at the same time! Often wondering "What was I thinking?!") Physical therapy and time slowly began the healing process and gardening strengthened her hands. After an unexpected, but deeply personal journey to Montana in the fall of 2013 she decided it was time to reinvent herself and embrace her passion for words. With renewed confidence, and a plan to do the work necessary to become a writer, she began writing every day (with the help of 750Words.com - thank you Kellianne and Buster!), submitting to a variety of magazines and contests to practice the craft. As well as participating in the Learning to See poetry programs offered at the local library. Attending writing retreats, workshops, lectures, taking classes, reading and immersing herself in the process. She began to work with writers and authors in the tri-state area. Presently living in Westchester New York Patricia lives with her husband of 29 years, two daughters – both attending college and grad school and a dear college friend – all under the roof of a little cape cod. Its snug – but the laughter and support is rich and full! Patricia is working on her first novel with her editor, with hopes and dreams and fingers crossed to find an agent in the fall of 2015. You are invited to join her on this journey of a writer. To experience her trials, successes and stumbles along the way. Perhaps it will help you find your brave, and if writing is in your soul - to join her. Share your stories and maybe together we will unravel some of the complexities of this life. To heal, hope and learn what we can from one another, in the time we have. To listen and hear one another's stories. Breathe Deep, Think Peace Patty
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