In my last It’s a Writer Thing post, I wrote about the day I finished my first book and the thought process I had when I made my deeply misguided decision to query way too soon, which of course resulted in a bunch of rejections. The worst part of this story is, I did my homework. I read all the articles that outlined what I should do, then I ignored them.
What the hell was I thinking? I'll tell you EXACTLY what I was thinking. Since I’m a visual person, I decided to represent this graphically. Here goes.
Alas, queries ensued.
My guess is this is another writer thing, so if anyone out there has been there, I’d love to hear about it; and if your experience was different, I’d love to hear about that too.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I wanted was encouragement that I could write. Not just as a fun hobby, but for real. Even if they said I had a huge amount to learn (which I did and still do), I would have just loved a, Keep it up. You’re on to something here.
There I was, on the tail end of a year of drafting. I was staring down the dark, unknown territories of another two years of rewrites, and I wanted some freakin’ guidance, someone to let me know that my past and future effort would be worth it. But what did I get instead? Agent rejections. Luckily, I got wise around that time and figured out what I really needed was a critique group, which I found (although that comes with its own treacherous waters to navigate).
Funny thing is, one of the first people who cheered me on to really go for it hadn’t even read any of my stuff. This dear friend was one of the few people I told about my endeavors in those early days, and one day, she slipped a note into a card; it said, “You can do it! You can write!” She simply believed in me. She’s gone now, and I’m heartbroken to say that I lost her note. I wish more than anything that I had it back, but I’ll never forget her words.
I know now that the only way we’ll ever fail is if we stop trying. As long as we keep working, we’ll keep getting better, and eventually, we’ll start to get those yes’s.
Our stories are worth that extra time and extra effort to make them as good as they can be. So to anyone out there who isn’t sure if it will be worth it: You can do it! You can write!
Jessica Bayliss Blogs about reading, writing, & other fun stuff