No, no … don’t get excited. I haven’t managed to do that yet. In fact, I got another form letter ‘no’ today from someone I thought would be interested in my work. But before I go down the spiral of trying to figure out what’s wrong with me, I took what I’ve come to think of as my core “evasive action.”
I binge-watched a bunch of “I Just Got an Agent” videos on YouTube.
I love how excited they all are, and how for the most part, everyone looks like they can’t quite believe it. Literally NO ONE is calm and all “Yeah, I knew this was going to be the one.”
Some of them got an agent querying their first book. Some got an agent querying their 3rd book. One person got an agent querying her 11th book. But the unifying principle here is the important one: they all finally landed an agent. Because they kept trying. And they kept writing. And it was never about “giving up vs. not giving up,” it was just the thing that WAS.
So whenever someone says “don’t give up,” to me, my first reaction is the Scooby Doo face. “Whaaa … ?” I’m not doing this as a thing to get me somewhere. I’m doing this because it’s who I am. You might as well tell me not to give up breathing. It’s not even an option.
I stopped hanging out with a “writers group” in my early 20s, because they all seemed to just want to get together and make each other feel better about not writing. “Oh Susie sat down at her typewriter and confronted the reality of the blank page for an HOUR, that was SO BRAVE.” (1. yes, this is literally something someone said, and 2. yes, my 20s really were so long ago that most of us used typewriters.) Important to note here that Susie didn’t actually write anything. She just made time to sit down at her typewriter and stare at a blank piece of paper. Another of the writers in this group had surrounded her “writing area” in her home with ropes like you see around a boxing ring.
So this is how these people thought of writing, and it wasn’t at all how I thought of writing. For me writing wasn’t a battle or scary or something that required bravery. It was just a thing that happened, stuff just came out of me all the time.
I still think of writing this way, an organic thing that happens the same way breathing happens. It’s not always effortless, but it’s natural and I can’t imagine stopping. I imagine getting my agent will be that way too. Organic. Natural.
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to take another look at my query letter and try to figure out why it didn’t catch this agent’s attention. I may even obsess over it until I send it out to the next agent. But eventually I’ll send it out again, and one of these days, someone else will be watching my “I just got an agent” YouTube and thinking deep thoughts about how it’s going to happen for them. You’ll see.