Wow, what a depressing title! What emo kid came up with that one? Yeesh...
So it's been almost a week since I finished my novel and blogged triumphantly about its completion. Songs were sung, feasts were had, accolades were proclaimed (by me, for me). I even kept the momentum going by immediately beginning my next project. I am already 27 Word pages into a brand new story. I sent my first novel off to a batch of amazing friends who agreed to test read for me and give suggestions. Now I just sit back and wait for revisions, right?
But then what?
Today I was supposed to be cleaning cleaning cleaning. My cousin is coming to stay for a week, and she would probably appreciate a spot to sleep and a clean bathroom. Instead, I found myself exploring the world of finding a literary agent. I have been told again and again how hard it is to become published. That I should consider self-publishing as an ebook, which is not out of the question. But I really want to try the old-fashioned route first. I have tried to remain optimistic, saying that if I don't try, then I definitely won't be published! Which is true. But...
This is freaking scary! Everything I read and research tells me over and over that getting published is a numbers game. Of course, if you do your research, find an agent that has worked in the genre, write a professional and clever query letter, your odds increase. But still, agents receive tens of thousands of query letters a year! How do I compete? And even if I get a partial manuscript request, there is no guarantee. And mostly it's a waiting game. Putting my dreams in someone else's hands. Giving them the ability to crush them.
Okay, getting dramatic here.
Here's the thing. I have been fairly successful in my life. I'm happy, in general, with how things have gone. I did well in school, got my master's degree. I'm working in a job I love (most days). I'm even trying my hand at teaching a college class starting in a month. I won't say any of those things came easily, because I have worked hard, but everything I've done up until this point was safe. Safe because I knew I could succeed. Safe because my ability to succeed was in my hands and no one else's. Safe because while I have enjoyed what I'm doing, nothing I've yet accomplished could necessarily be considered my "dream."
And now there's this writing thing. A dream I have held close to my heart for a long time. A dream that I procrastinated over and over for fear of failing. Writing, being published, being able to share my stories with scores of people, that is a Dream with a capital D. Something I have longed for since writing about Jenny the Tooth in third grade. The scariest part is that this Dream, this sacred thing that means the most, is the one thing that I am going to try that may realistically never come true.
Oh sure, I joke about being on the New York Times Bestseller list, and making my books into movies, but realistically things like that don't happen to just anybody. I'd like to think that my writing is good enough for that, but there are hundreds, probably thousands of others out there with just as much, or more, ability, all headed for the same goal.
I plan to continue to dream big. I hope that I can navigate these waters and deal with whatever rejection and difficulty comes my way. I know that I will be discouraged, and that's where you, my friends, come in. You don't need to tell me that I will definitely make it as a writer. I know that's not true, and unless you have developed phenomenal cosmic powers of future telling, you can't say that it's true either. All I need is support and encouragement. And maybe a friend to cry over ice cream with from time to time ;)
Laugh on, and keep dreaming!