I don't know if there's another avocation as demoralizing as being a writer. I post on a couple writer-y forums, and the desperation is - at times - like a needle to the eye ball.
All kinds of Pain and Suffering.
Until now, I've never really paid attention to many of the 'woe-is-me, my teenage vampire book can't find a home....' I'd get all uppity about saying stuff like, "I write to for the words, man. I don't need not stinking agent!" (And then a chorus of deep-voiced dudes would yell something like, "YEAH!" just after I finished. You know, whatever.)
Then came last January, when I get this E-mail about somebody being interested in my book. Until that point, the only person who ever said anything good about my writing was my mom. And she's not exactly a good critique partner. Hell, I'm her first born.....
Still, that E-mail got a couple bubbles of excitement floating inside me.
But, then I started playing World of Warcraft and - just like one of the magical things that happens inside that game - KA-BLAM!, I hit a major bout of writer's block.
Fast-forward a couple months, and I find myself getting ready to move to Oregon.
Another month and I'm in Oregon.
Of course, I needed to take a month to get everything together (in Oregon).
Eventually, I returned to my book, The Legendary Days of My 17th Year. And I was a bit surprised by what I read....
I liked it. I actually thought it was good. Unlike so many people, I have no misconceptions that I'm some amazing wordsmith. In my daydreams, I'm just a few steps above totally sucking - despite the almost continual reassurances from my various writer friends (and, of course, my mom) that my writing was 'very good'.
Well, I've entered the "woe-is-me" zone. Thankfully I'm not pitching a vampire book, so we can all be spared that melodramatic part of this story.
I began querying agents - tentatively - this week. I was full of self-doubt, full of anxiety - full of walls being erected (just in case I got rejected, which is more than a possibility as a writer - it's a straight up fact, sucka.) That was Saturday night.
Sunday morning, I raced downstairs like it was Christmas and checked my E-mail.
So I got on Facebook, waiting to hear that bing! from my E-mail.
As I was eating breakfast, I checked my E-mail and......
There it sat, a response from my first-ever queried agent requesting a full submission.
That night, I sent out a couple more. The next day, I didn't even have to wait - 2 more requests for submissions.
So, I sent out a couple more and consulted some successful writer friends.
Two more requests for full submissions.
The way this story SHOULD end is with me winning the National Book Award, having people be all weepy whenever I'm around, and generally living the life of a literary Rock Star, right?
I got rejected.
And for some reason it just demoralized me. I started thinking, "Yeah, it's not that good..." Even though this specific agent (who I'm told is fairly picky in what she likes) personally replied saying, "You are a powerful writer, but something is holding me back." She went on to compliment the book, too.
So, total craziness happening here. And the craziest part? I'm waaaayyy ahead of the traditional publishing curve here....I should be on cloud-9. I think, because the writing is so important to me and I desperately want it to find a person who thinks, "Man, this is exactly what I am about..." Because so many books have done that for me, you know? Like when I read Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - it just blew my mind. I want somebody who really champions something that I've written.
I don't necessarily care about a big advance, or some huge Twilight-esque sales record. Honestly, I don't. It would be nice, but I really am interested in becoming a better writer and working with an agent (and editor, ultimately) who loves what I'm doing and is a collaborator in all my madness....
So, time to do the inevitable and check my E-mail....I'm beginning to realize that an agents idea of "getting back soon" is vastly different than my own.