Monday, February 05, 2007

The yellowjacket test

Last week a couple of Southern Magic members (who shall remain nameless) told me they weren't planning to attend the RWA National Conference because they'd attended conferences before and they still hadn't gotten The Call. As one of them said, "What's the point?"

I feel this way too some days, like I'm just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. At my Superbowl party last night, some friends asked me about my books. I told them I'm working on X, my agent has an appointment this week about Y, and I'm still waiting to hear about Z. And I realized I'd told these friends exactly the same thing when I saw them at Christmas, except the X, Y, and Z were different.

But when I start to get down about the slow progress of my writing career, I always think back to a certain day in November 2004. I went to the mailbox and found a letter from an agent I'd had high hopes of working with! But it wasn't a letter saying she wanted to work with me. It was a revise-and-resubmit letter. And I disagreed with everything she said about my manuscript. And then a yellowjacket flew out of the mailbox, zoomed down my pants, and stung me on the butt.

Since then, I've sold two novels. I have a wonderful agent and a wonderful editor. So I'm writing and writing and waiting to hear about a million different things and never getting closure. Is it as bad as getting stung on the butt? No it is not.

If you've reached a boiling point of frustration, feeling your career is going nowhere, I encourage you to think back to a time last year when you were disppointed about your writing. Then think about how much you've done and learned since then. Even if you haven't gotten The Call, you have gotten closer to that goal. You've made new contacts, learned more about the industry, and gained more experience writing. Don't give up, friends! Keep going to the mailbox. Just take the Raid with you, and a washrag full of ice.

1 comment:

Carla Swafford said...

The butt, heh? That would be one of the few times I would be happy that my pants are usually tight. LOL!

Yes. I agree. A very slow process. Pocket has had one submission for two years this April. Yes. I've emailed (at 6 months) and called (at 1 year). Bantam has one too for 1 year and 3 months. Ditto.

Makes you understand why the 1800's authors usually only published a hand full of books.