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Friday, June 8, 2012

Strap on Your Backpack—It's a Long Hike

What I'm Reading Now: Legend, by Marie Lu

Ever wanted something so bad it feels like you're waking up to the day before a big vacation, but never the day of? That's the stage I'm at now with The Novel. With today's instant Google searches and emails and text messages, I'm used to getting what I want within seconds. The Internet is a wonderful, infinite, deceptive little thing.

Because that's not how writing a book works.

When I finished my first draft, I would have laughed if you'd told me, "You know, you won't be querying agents for this project for at least another year." I would've said there's no way I could make that many changes. It was done, for Pete's sake, and it couldn't change that much, right? And besides, I'm not nearly that patient. I would have an agent within six months (I mean, c'mon, that's plenty of time) or die trying.

One month passed. Two. Eight. No agent yet, and I'm still breathing.

Thank goodness, too. I still had so much to learn about the process. In October I realized this and switched my focus from trying to get published to improving my manuscript. Still, I had to work very hard to harness my excitement. I think I've been through the seven stages of grief during this process, and sometimes I catch myself slipping back. But when I query again, I don't want to have something half-baked that a hundred agents overlook before one (if any) decides maybe my book's worth the work. That work has to go into it now, and that takes time, and I'm slowly accepting that fact.

You might be waiting on something, too. A new job, Mr./Mrs. Right, a move to another city/country. But if I've learned anything, it's that a dream is not a race. It's a hitchhiking trip from Boston to Los Angeles with a backpack that starts empty and fills as you go. You'll meet people along the way who can point you in the right direction, but there are going to be lots of times you want to scream, "Am I there yet??"

No, not yet. But every day's a step closer.

3 comments:

  1. The beauty of it is this: the audience for new books is self-renewing. I start a new book about every 9 days, and while I may be faster than some, I'm slower than others. Also, in the case of YA, that audience renews every 4 years: some age out, new ones age in. So... no rush. The audience ain't goin' anywhere. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jamie. Your blog has really helped me with this. More than anything it's been my impatience to 'get there,' to have someone else as excited about the project as I am, that's got me all hyped. I'm getting better :) Chocolate is also great therapy.

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  2. The seven stages of grief is exactly how I felt during this process and I too thought I would "arrive" much quicker.

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