Monday, December 20, 2010
When you get there you find it's only a corner
Long story short, I have a contract for my mystery, and they are considering my series - already reading the second manuscript. I keep waiting for the shoe to fall, the bells to ring, something. But my days are still passing normally to include FundsforWriters deadlines.
I'm happy - I'm stunned! I worked for years trying to publish. I rewrote multiple times because it hadn't caught the eye of an agent. I sent out 72 agent queries as well as a few publisher queries. Took two years to find an agent. Once I landed an agent (bless her heart, she's wonderful), it took a year and a half or more to find a publisher.
I started this book 12 years ago.
I've stumbled so many times with this effort.
I read, like you, all those articles and blog posts from authors and agents telling me to be patient, work hard, and keep fighting the good fight. I didn't mind, really. I love to write. I have fun with my stories. They are hard to write well, and I've cried, cursed and screamed some nights, but they are forever in my head. So no matter what was my destiny, I wrote.
Frankly, some nights, it was hard telling my readers to be stubborn and persevere when I thought about throwing the novel in the trash. But a few days after a fitful fight with myself, I would return to the chapter and work again. I figured I'd do this until I could no longer sit at the keyboard. Like gardening, it helped me be me.
But suddenly the plan worked. It's funny . . . those who write understand how marvelous this moment is. Those who aren't writers but know I write tell me that's great without understanding what great really is. They give me a smile like I've grown a prize tomato or made an A on a term paper. It must be nice or I wouldn't be bragging, so they brag, too. I smile back, thanking them for the congratulations, but inside I want to dance - and I want someone to dance with me who understands.
It's like turning 21, getting married, retiring, moving or graduating. It's a milestone in your journey, but for some reason you wake up the next morning and don't feel changed. Different, but not altered. It's nice, but nobody can tell when they walk by you.
But your life has changed. It changed for the good. You worked hard and got somewhere. It's not all for nothing anymore. But the remarkable aspect is that you keep working. You haven't arrived anywhere. You just turned a corner. Now let's see where this road takes us.