Writing a book was the most exhausting, yet the most fulfilling, thrilling, and exhilarating (nice assonance, eh?) experience of my life. When I finished — and I mean truly finished — I told myself that I wasn’t going to let the whole querying process get the better of me. But the whole process is incredibly damaging to the psyche, whether or not you tell yourself you’re not going to let it get to that point.
Rejection has a way of killing your spirit.
Or, if you’re me, making you completely, totally, 100% loopy. I think this well-timed GIF is an accurate depiction of the side effects of the querying process:
It’s so easy to get lost. To lose yourself
What’s worse? It’s easier to lose interest altogether.
You begin to self-answer questions like, “Am I good enough?” with answers such as, “I can’t possibly be any good because if I were good, I’d have an agent. Right?”
And questions like that are damaging, not only to the mind, but to the body. Self-doubt leads to hatred, and hatred leads to insanity. Literally. There have been times during this whole
scary fucked-up ridiculous [necessary] process that I thought I was crazy; crazy for trying, crazy for wanting to give up, crazy for thinking about wanting to give up, crazy for even writing a book.
Because only a truly insane person would write a book and attempt this process.
Then I would remember my book, the actual book, the writing, the words, and remember why I’m pushing so hard: I love my book. I love writing.
It’s so easy to forget about the passion, especially when caught up in #AgentPolitics.
As a writer, there are steps you have to go through to acquire that elusive agent. Steps that I know all too well.
- Write a book.
- Edit that book.
- Repeat #2 until awesome.
- Write a kick-ass query letter.
- Research agents. (Can’t stress the research element enough. Like, KNOW the agent and what they accept, follow them on twitter, know their clients, understand that each agent has different submission guidelines etc.)
- Send out query.
Once you’ve finished #1, you’re all #high on life, and “I’M GONNA BE PUBLISHED.” Then, once you reach #6, and you’ve finally pieced EVERYTHING together, it all kind of resembles this:
Hopeful and optimistic, you stare at your (potential) future hoping it won’t completely suck.
And then, once you send it out to agents, it’s like your sending your first born child — your baby, your pride and joy and most treasured possession — to Voldemort’s inner circle of Mean Girl Death Eaters.
Because WHO has EVER gone up against a Killing Curse from a Death Eater and lived to tell about it?
Ok, Harry Potter.
So, really, my whole theory was just blown. (Thanks, JK Rowling.)
I guess that means that I should think about myself as Harry Potter, the Boy Who Bided His Time Waiting For An Agent To Discover His Talents.
It’s hard to remain that optimistic throughout the waiting process, though. It’s actually easier to just become a big old tangled mess of nerves and anxiety, prone to stress-eating your weight in delicious treats …
… while obsessively hitting the Refresh button on Gmail.
That’s when you know that it’s time to heal.
It can be such a soul-destroying process that, every once in a while, it is vital — no, necessary — to take the time, search for your lost passion, and reconnect with that side of you that made you write a book to begin with.
For me, that process begins and ends with other writers.
I’ve been lucky enough lately to have a small community of writer friends that have offered so much incredible support that I remembered why I fell in love with writing and why I feel so damn strongly about my book.
Last week I had dinner, right before my birthday (happy 27th to me!), with two former classmates, the lovely and ÜBERLY talented Jess Verdi, whose amazing debut novel My Life After Now came out in April and rocked my world, and the equally lovely and equally ÜBERLY talented Amy Ewing, whose debut, The Jewel, which is Book 1 of an incredible trilogy, hits book stores Fall 2014. We caught up on all things New School-related, exchanged personal-life fun-facts, and talked craft; they gushed about my book (which Jess has read) and my blog (which they both claim to read), and told me that I’m an incredible writer with a brilliant voice. I mean…TALK ABOUT A PICK-ME-UP!
I was all, “Fuck the haters. I’m #FABULOUS” after listening to their encouragement! I was definitely not about to rebuke such words because they soothed my aching, wounded, querying soul.
It was a very healing dinner. It was fun, filled with laughs — and adult beverages. We discussed our current works-in-progress. BTW, Book 1 of Amy’s trilogy…I JUST CAN’T. I’m FILLED WITH EXCITEMENT!!!! This was my reaction to her verbal synopsis:
Like, serious #fangirling!
And she had ALL the trouble when she was querying.
The biggest thing that I learned from that dinner was to not give up, that I was doing the right thing, that I am going down the right path.
It’s SO important to remain positive. That is why I’m so thankful for my writer friends, for the support that they give, and how they inspire me on a daily basis.
Right now, I’m in the process of reading my friend Nic‘s abso-fucking-lutely brilliant manuscript (#ManuscriptSwap Holler!) and we talk #writing every day. He’s like a gay Oprah (GOprah? Gayoprah? Opgay?) He is currently going through the query process, and by being able to walk through this process with somebody is invaluable. Our daily/in-person pow-wows are healing, and not just because we pad the conversation with insane amounts of “OMG YOUR BOOK IS SO GOOD” back-and-forth compliments, but because we understand the journey that each other’s on and just the notion of somebody out there getting it makes you feel like you’re not alone in the world.
I’m not alone.
I have the best (and most talented EVER) support system, and I couldn’t be luckier.
The key to this whole process is to constantly heal.
The key to healing is to have fun, and surround yourself with like-minded individuals, who will offer support, even if you claim not to need it.
Chance are, you need it.
So take it.