Amidst Saturday’s pile of mail was an envelope that looked all too familiar: the SASE that I had included with my most recent query to a literary agent. How can one have so many conflicting emotions bottlenecking all at once? I don’t know, but they were all there in a millimoment, jamming for attention: Disappointment. Understanding (this quest is a numbers game, I know). Satisfaction — that is, knowing that I’m taking my writing to the next level and putting it ‘out there’. And then right back to disappointment again.
Undeniably, persistence is an essential ingredient in achieving a goal. I know this. I know that it would be too easy to give up, to give in, toss in the proverbial towel. Have you shaken hands with your gremlin yet? Mine’s “Patty Perfect”. She’s spent years lounging on my shoulder, legs crossed and wagging her critical finger at every obstacle and stumble. She’s the reason this first novel manuscript was left to languish in a box in the rear of my closet. Little did I realize at the time that if I’d heeded the suggestions made by an editor who read my manuscript (yup! the entire thing! and unsolicited — I knew so little about submissions back then), there was a good chance it would have been picked up. This reading-between-the-lines of my first “positive rejection” came years later, by way of an acquaintance who is a literary agency executive. His “translation” of the letter gave me the encouragement to revitalize the project, however.
So here I am, sending out query letters for project #1. And working on project #2. A novel of a completely different ilk. I dedicated a good portion of Sunday to researching more literary agent options for my first manuscript and made the necessary decisions about my next choices (although I’ll only send out one-query-at-a-time). It is as important that I continue with my agent search as it is to stay with the developing story of my current work. Herein lies the challenge for balance and attention to momentum.
With one free hour available today, I dedicated it to project #2. A local coffee house has a back room area with comfy chairs and tables. Hoping that it would be quiet, I packed up my laptop and headed down there. I was determined that I wasn’t going to let the most recent “Thanks, but not for me” message taint my inspiration. I blocked out the background chatter and focused on my screen until my story’s characters once again came to life in my head. As my fingers began to tap the keys, I felt an internal sigh of relief. Balance and momentum were in place and humming. Yay!