Friday, September 9, 2011

Reflections on the Journey

The other day I posted about signing with literary agent Emmanuelle Morgen and so many of you chimed in with your congratulations. Thank you for that!

Heather made this comment:
Please give details on how you hung in there and kept the faith, despite the rejections! I'm in the trenches right now!

Everyone’s journey to publication is different. You hear that all the time, right? For some it happens quickly, for others slowly. Insanely talented people are rejected all the time and sometimes the scum rises to the top.

You also hear that finding an agent willing to represent you isn’t the same as “arriving.” 

This is true. If authors have “arrived,” that arrival happens when they get their first book published, when that first advance check posts to their savings account, when they receive their first fan mail from a total stranger. 
 
But even these milestones don’t feel complete without great sales and another best-seller-hopeful in the making. We’re always striving for the next big thing. So it’s logical to conclude that if we’re not content where we are (even as aspiring writers), we probably never will be content. 

And maybe that's good. We're driven people. That's why we're even attempting this. If we weren't driven, we'd be writing stories in our closets, hidden away from the world.

But don't let the fact that you don't have an agent yet steal the JOY you find in writing. We love it first. That's why we write these insanely long bodies of work. Let agents reject. They can't (shouldn't) steal the JOY we find in the process (for long, anyway).

Embracing these truths early on helped me to keep going through the query trenches, helped me through the pain of being one in a slushpile of thousands.

That, and I believed I could succeed. I knew it would take the combination of a unique, marketable idea, a ton of hard work, and great writing, but it was possible.

This assurance didn’t come with a timeline, though. I had this fuzzy idea that I’d give this aspiring writer thing twenty good years before I gave up. Okay, maybe thirty years. (Fine, I'd give it forty.)

So, it’s been four—going on five—years and I just signed with an agent. Phew. Check that off the to-do list.

So far having an agent is euphoric. And terrifying. And wonderful. And crazy. Rather like standing on the first ledge of a very high cliff.

Which leads me to this invitation: 
If you're interested in a play-by-play of my writing journey so far, click >>here<<. My former critique partner, amazing author S.J. Kincaid, offered to host me on her blog. She wanted all the gory details, so be prepared. 

I hope something I wrote here helps those of you in the trenches. I'm soon to be in the trenches again myself: the submission trenches. I'll keep you posted on which trench is worse....

Until then, happy writing!

20 comments:

  1. Wow. I REALLY needed to hear this right now. I'm in the query trenches and I can't even let myself think about what I'm doing, else I get this panicked anxiety in my chest.

    Such a great post.

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  2. You have a very grounded view of it all, I'm impressed :-)

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  3. It the word JOY, in capital letters, that says it all. Congratulations on your ongoing success! And, after such a short time, too!

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  4. I like what you said about the joy of the process. It's so true, and sometimes so easy to forget. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Great post! And so true. Joy isn't about signing the paper. Now I'm off to hear the gory details. :D

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  6. i love your positive spin on things! you're right, the fact that we love writing and that we're always striving for the next big thing (from landing an agent, to finding a publisher, to writing the next book) is what MAKES us writers. the rest don't stick with it. i'm so thrilled for you and hope that someday i'll get to stand in those shoes for awhile!

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  7. It does take years of hard work, but oh I bet the feeling is worth it.

    Congratulations again!

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  8. Congratulations!I hope none of your trenches get too deep.

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  9. Just read your story...n.i.c.e.
    Seriously, so proud of you and excited at the same time. Loved your description of it all as "rock climbing"...I would have to agree. ;)
    One thing that really helped me was that you put your first two books aside. You don't see them as wastes of time, but learning curves. Great attitude, which you always have!
    Congrats, again, Friend!

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  10. Amy...I was so excited when I heard you got an agent. For me, seeing my friends moving forward is so rewarding. I'm so excited for you...

    Great post!

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  11. You make a great point - we're always striving for the next big thing, so it's so important to enjoy the stage we're at. Congratulations, Amy!

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  12. I needed this. The query trenches are no joke. They are tough, they beat you down, and you only hope you'll pass the test. IT IS NOT EASY. IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

    Who would have realized that. Every person just assumes it's easy, I'm just glad there are several writers who understand our pain.

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  13. Thanks for this, Amy. I've been grumpy about not having (making) time to write for the past several months because my next steps involve a lot of elbow grease and time has been too scarce. And I am lazy. :)

    This week I had to submit something to my writing group. I didn't have anything appropriate (they've already read the novel and I don't really do short stories), so that forced me to devote some time to it. (A lot of time actually - oh well, who needs a paycheque?) Anyway, after I did that I felt compelled to do a new blog post and it was fun. The longer I stay away from writing, the more distanced I get from the JOY of it. And that's the whole reason to do it, as you say. Everything else is just the trappings of the industry...

    Thanks!
    Jodi

    http://nowweretalkingwithjodi.blogspot.com/

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  14. From what I've heard, the submission trench is by far the worst. You can edit like crazy for an editor, they love the book, but acquisitions doesn't. Fortunately you then have a sparkling new books for the next round of editors. ;)

    Good luck, Amy!

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  15. HUGE congrats if I missed saying so, my dear! And your wise words are perfect--the joy in writing is the greatest of things.

    Best of luck when you go to submissions!!!

    Hugs!

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  16. Wonderful post, Amy. You have a way with words- You should be a writer! Seriously, thanks for the encouragment.
    And I mentioned you in today's blog post, congrats again!
    www.bookreadress.blogspot.com

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  17. I love reading everyone's stories. There are so many paths to publication. So many inspiring stories. Congrats again on getting your agent! One step closer to publications! :D

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  18. Hooray, Amy!!!!! I just read the whole post on your friend's blog. LOVE IT! Thank you SO much for sharing your journey! SO SO SO SO happy for you!!! Hugs!

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  19. I've been out of the blogasphere for a while so missed this. How can I not congratulate you?
    CONGRATULATIONS on your representation :o)

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  20. Welcome! As another of Emmanuelle's writers, I just wanted to say hi, and congratulations!

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